Else Schilling Bard
Her many grandchildren (she had 16!) called her “Omah”. To friends and family near and far she was “Leinie”, short for Elselein (German for Little Else). With her three daughters, Vicko, Sophie and Phoebe at her side, “Leinie” Else Schilling Bard died at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital on February 12th 2017 at 2:08 in the morning. She was 88 years old.
Leinie was a photographer, writer, poet, artist, intrepid world explorer, humanitarian, philanthropist and contemplative spiritual seeker who created connections with people and the natural world wherever she happened to find herself. As a young woman, she developed what would become a lifelong interest in all forms of art, religion, philosophy, psychology, archeology and mythology. Her 45 years photographing indigenous peoples and capturing the indomitable spirit of humanity took her to more than 65 countries – from the Oayana Indians in the rain forests of Surinam to the nomadic peoples of Inner Mongolia; from weavers in the remote mountains of Guatemala, to the Asmat and Dani tribes of Borneo and Irian Jaya, and just about everywhere in between.
Leinie was born in San Francisco on January 9th 1929, the daughter of Walter and Mildred Schilling, and the granddaughter of German-born August Schilling, co-founder of A. Schilling & Company. She graduated from Stanford University in 1950 with a degree in Philosophy and pursued a nursing degree, also from Stanford, which she completed in 1952. Leinie then moved to Europe where she volunteered as both a surgical and a pediatric nurse while studying at the University of Innsbruck and the Carl Jung Institute in Zurich.
In 1953 she returned to San Francisco and married fellow Stanford grad and plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Gunther Peter Nagel. Shortly thereafter they moved to Saint Louis and then settled in Santa Barbara. They had four children — Peter Christian, Else Victoria, Sophia Augusta and Phoebe Alexandra. During their 13 years together (they divorced in 1966), Leinie accompanied her husband as a volunteer nurse, teacher and photographer on several surgical trips to Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City (then Saigon), India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Leinie remarried retired educator Arthur Mullin in 1983. The two continued a life of travel and philanthropy. It was during her second marriage (Arthur died in 1996) that Leinie began to collect worldly artifacts, which she combined to form uniquely beautiful pieces of jewelry based on universal archetypal patterns. Like her photographs, her jewelry assemblages sought to capture her deep belief in the unity of diversity, in the shared humanity that underlies racial, cultural and ideological differences, and in the interconnectedness of all things.
Leinie met Archie Bard, her third husband, artist, soul mate, and kindred spirit in 1998. During their 10 wonderful years together, Leinie’s creative process accelerated producing some of her most remarkable jewelry pieces. She and Archie shared a love of music, particularly jazz, and they enjoyed being part of a thriving local jazz community. When her beloved Archie died in 2009, Leinie moved from her Montecito home of 40 years to the Valle Verde retirement community where her curiosity and love of learning remained vibrant. She took up oil painting and attended drumming classes, and continued her weekly computer lessons. A close friend described her disposition as one of plucky indomitability. She will be remembered for that, of course, as well as for many other things: her tremendous generosity towards her children, friends and community, her sense of humor, her sincerity and kindness towards others and her beautiful, radiant smile.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to one of the organizations that Leinie actively supported: The Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, Conservation International Foundation, the Community Arts Music Association, the Walter A. Capps Center, or Planned Parenthood.
A memorial celebration will be held on Sunday, April 23rd 2017 from 2-5PM at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, 2559 Puesta Del Sol, Santa Barbara, CA 93105.