People of Old Mission Peninsula: Jack and Alice Lardie

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Mert Gilmore, Mink Farm, Lardie
Sign for Mert Gilmore’s Mink Farm | Jane Boursaw Photo

If you go by the corner of Blue Water Road and Bluff Road, you’ve probably noticed the fantastic yard there full of all sorts of amazing things. That’s Jack and Alice Lardie’s place.

My daughter and I wandered through the yard recently, took a closer look at all the fun stuff, and even signed the guest book, nestled inside a mailbox in the yard. And, of course, I snapped a few photos.

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My husband Tim and I have known Jack and Alice all our lives. Jack was one of Tim’s first childhood buddies. Tim tells the story of stopping by there last year, and he and Jack got to talking. Jack said he had something to show Tim, and Jack brought out a sturdily-built, John Deere-green bobsled from one of the little outhouses in his yard. It was the bobsled that he, Tim and their fellow Boy Scout troop had made in 1963 for the Boy Scout Klondike Derby in Rapid City.

Tim recalls that there were hundreds of Boy Scouts there, and Mike Baker, Rob Weber and others were part of the troop. If you were, too, let us know in the comments below!

I don’t have a photo of the bobsled, since Tim wasn’t with us when we took the set of photos below – next time!

Jack’s dad was John Lardie, who was well known among the farmers for his ability to fix anything. I often saw him working on one thing or another in my dad’s shop and, later, my brothers’ shops. (My Dad, Walter Johnson, passed away in 2004, and my brothers, Dean and Ward Johnson, are still farming on the Old Mission Peninsula.)

Alice’s mom and dad were Ruby and Merton (“Mert”) Gilmore. Ruby was Mabel Jamieson’s sister, and Tim says their maiden name was Jerrett (not sure if I’ve got that spelled correctly), though he doesn’t believe they were part of Jeff Jerrett’s OMP clan (if you have intel, let us know in the comments below).

In the photos, you can see the sign for Mert’s mink farm; the sign used to be up on Center Road. Alice says they had thousands of mink at one time; the mink pens were located in the little woods behind Jack and Alice’s house, near where Larimer’s house is now (also where the “Blue Water Joint” used to be, but we’ll save that for another story).

Oh, and Jack is an awesome chicken-turner for the OMP United Methodist Church’s annual chicken barbecue!

Click the photos below for larger views of Jack and Alice’s yard. And leave your own thoughts and memories of the Lardie’s in the comments below!

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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  1. I have my grandmothers mink stole that my mom got made into a pillbox hat and collar. It was made from the first silver mink ((white and black) from Gilmore mink farm. I remembering not liking a wind from the east because the SMELL would carry on the wind! Jack is my first cousin. John was my favorite uncle growing up. He was a unique individual and was a number one mechanic. My mom and Dad (Rudy and Irene Giles) help raise John when Grandma died. I’ll have to stop by and touch base when I come up next time.

  2. My brother, Ron Brown, used to work on the mink farm for Mert. I remember him mixing the food for them – gross stuff – and how mean the mink were – didn’t want to get any fingers close. I remember going in the winter to a little out building to help my brother with the pelts. It was all very interesting, and your article brought back some cool memories. Today, I would love to “shop” Jack & Alice’s yard – lots of cool stuff there!!! 🙂

    • Thanks, Sally! I must admit, I’ve been by Jack and Alice’s house thousands of times (especially since we live just down the road from them), and this is the first time I’ve actually wandered around the yard and checked out all the neat stuff. It’s super cool.

  3. Memories! Jan Jameison & I rode horses from her farm to her Aunt Ruby’s, only to be greeted by a “sick” mink that had escaped its cage, spooked the horses, and was eventually ‘taken care” of by Uncle Mert. Gilmore’s yard has always been a piece of art!
    PS. Howdy to you, Kathy 🙂

  4. Reading the comments bring back memories of OMP. I remember Kathy Giles, Janice Jamieson and I bet Mary Jo Lance is Mary Jo Solmonson? I lived on the other end on Blue Waters Rd. We all rode our horses at the arena that Mert and Ruby had in 4 H horse shows.
    I knew Jack and his sister, Jill. It was great reading the article and seeing the pictures. I will be home the last week of September and will visit.

    Peggie Heller Kelly

    • Good to hear from you, Peggie! I’m Ward Johnson’s sister – he and Harry David used to hang out. Fun memories of them riding minibikes together. 🙂

  5. One of my fave things to do in the summer is to take visitors to wander thru Alice’s yard…and she plants pretty annuals all along her many nooks and crannies. I always pick put two or three things I’d like to bring home……plus great neighbors❤️


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