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Ardythe Bullard

Ardythe Bullard Life Before & After Her Husband Gale Sayers Death: Facts

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Ardythe Bullard (fully, Ardythe Elaine Bullard) is the wife of late NFL player, Gale Sayers. Ardythe’s husband is considered as one of the N.F.L.’s greatest players. He was a running back for the Chicago Bears for seven seasons.

Both during and after his playing days ended, Sayers used his charisma and sizable net worth to enhance the lives of others, supporting several sports programs and community services.

After his rather short-lived football career and throughout his death-defining illness, his wife, Ardythe remained his strong supporter. So how did she managed to do it? How did their love begin and what kept it strong for so many years.

Know all these along with some other details regarding Gale Sayers’ wife Ardythe Bullard down in the article below.

Ardythe Bullard’s Relationship With Gale Sayers

Ardythe Bullard married Gale on December 1, 1973. Sayers was 30 at the time. Both of them were previously married.

In the ’60s, Ardythe had just joined the North Omaha YMCA board that included Gale’s brother, Roger Sayers. Her father used to work at the packinghouses in South Omaha, also her native city.

Ardythe Bullard With Her Husband Gale Sayers
Ardythe Bullard With Her Husband Gale Sayers

Ardie and Roger became friends and Bullard even helped care for Roger’s mother before she died.

Ironically, Elaine had known almost all of the Sayers family. The only family member she didn’t know was the famous one, Gale. She eventually met Gale at North Omaha’s favorite cafe, the Fair Deal.

After the wedding, they moved to Kansas. Gale got a job in the KU athletic department. But they occasionally returned home to see family, especially during Native Omaha Days, the community reunion in North O every other summer.

After Gale’s retirement, he and Elaine settled in Wakarusa, Indiana.

Gale launched a booming technology company and in 2012 he semiretired. Then he spent a few months a year in Las Vegas, where he worked autograph conventions — he loved scribbling his name.

In 1987, Gale and Ardythe Sayers had bought a house in rural Wakarusa. The pair owned the house until Gale’s death in 2020. In fact, Ardythe presumably still owns the property.

Ardythe Bullard’s Children

While Gale Lynne, Timothy, Scott, Gaylon, Guy, and Gary are all considered children of Gale Sayers, it’s confusing which of them he produced with Ardythe. Some argue the first three are from the athlete’s marriage to Linda while the latter three are from his relationship with Bullard. Add to that, some claim, Ardie and her husband adopted Guy.

Gale had adopted Scott with his first wife, Linda. Ardythe, herself is the mother of four children yet it’s unclear if Gale’s the father of all of them. Ardythe and Sayers nonetheless have 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Her Stepson Pleaded Guilty In School Fire

Timothy Sayers was 17 when he pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property in October 1989 for starting a fire at Kenwood Academy. Associate Judge Dennis Dernbach sentenced him to 2 years of supervision and ordered him to undergo psychiatric counseling for the same period.

Sayers had no previous convictions, and Kenwood officials refused to press charges, said prosecutors. Timothy was burned when he tried to set ablaze a flammable liquid on the floor of a chemistry laboratory and on a stairwell of the school at 5015 S. Blackstone Ave.

Ardythe’s Husband Was Previously Married To Another Woman

Before Elaine, Sayers was husband to Linda McNeil. They married in 1962 when Sayers was a freshman at college and divorced in June 1973. The relationship produced a daughter, Gale Lynne, and two sons, Timothy and Scott. Gale and Linda had adopted their first son, Timothy.

They Opened An Adoption Agency

After moving to Indiana, Ardythe, and Sayers supported several organizations including the Cradle. It was a Chicago-area adoption agency that launched the Ardythe and Gale Sayers Center for African American Adoption in 1999.

The Cradle started The Ardythe and Gale Sayers Center for African American Adoption with a focus on adoptive parent recruitment in the African American community.

Ardythe Bullard Shares Great Relationship With Her Husband, Gale Sayers
Ardythe Bullard with her husband, Gale Sayers. Source: Yvette Marie Dostatni, Chicago Tribune

The Sayers Center, named after Sayers, and his wife, Ardythe, is part of The Cradle’s domestic adoption program. It is one of the only programs in the country that promotes adoption awareness specifically within the African American community.

In addition, the Center provides cultural understanding and connectivity to transracial families who have adopted African American and Biracial children, in addition to transracial families who have adopted Black children internationally.

The aim of the Sayers Center Program is to impart knowledge to the African American community about the process of adoption and to provide ongoing support and opportunities for connections to all families who have adopted African American and Biracial children.

A Brief About Ardythe Bullard’s Husband

Bullard’s late husband, Gale Eugene Sayers was born in Wichita on May 30, 1943. His father was a mechanic and car polisher, and his mother a homemaker. The family moved to Omaha when Gale was 8 or 9, giving him a chance to play in an organized football league for the first time.

Sayers was a two-time all-American at the University of Kansas. The Bears drafted him in late 1964.

Ardythe Spouse Gale Sayers Was Into Sports
Ardythe Spouse Gale Sayers Was Into Sports Source: Chicago Tribune

Ardythe’s spouse went on to set records in his rookie season, gaining 2,272 all-purpose yards as a runner, receiver, and kick returner and scoring 22 touchdowns. Six came on a muddy field versus the San Francisco 49ers when he tied a single-game record that still stands.

What’s more, only Ernie Nevers, in 1929, and Dub Jones, in 1951, had recorded six touchdowns in an NFL game. Sayers contributed on an 80-yard screen pass, rushed for four touchdowns, and returned a punt 85 yards in the rain for his sixth.

In addition, Mr. Sayers was a first-team all-pro in each of his first five seasons, led the NFL in rushing in 1966 and 1969, and became the youngest player to get into the Hall of Fame, at age 34 in 1977.

After that knee injuries led him to retire. He had played seven seasons in the NFL.

After the NFL, Sayers returned to the University of Kansas as an assistant athletic director and student. He then finished his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1975 and got a master’s degree in educational administration in 1977.

Sayers died on September 23, 2020, at the age of 77, after suffering from dementia for several years.  

Her Husband Suffered From Dementia

In March 2017 Ardythe revealed Sayers had dementia, a diagnosis that she attributed in part to his playing career. She started noticing Sayers’ showing symptoms around 2013.

Every year, her husband traveled to the Mayo Clinic for his physical. By 2013, Ardythe feared something was terribly wrong.

Ms. Sayers revealed people used to see him and wondered what was wrong with him. Her husband didn’t take orders easily, especially from strangers. But eventually, Sayers needed a nurse in the home 24 hours a day.

At one point, he crashed before she could reach him, leaving a cut on his head.