Harold Morgan Hardin, 99, of Mountain Grove, Missouri, passed away peacefully on July 29, 2011 at Kabul Nursing Home in Cabool, Missouri.
He was the second born child and son to Iva Ann Weber Hardin and Grover Cleveland Hardin. Born near Dunn in Texas County, Missouri, in 1912 Harold grew up in Cabool at first, and then went to school in a one-room school house on the family farm. He had nine brothers and sisters, only one of whom passed away as an infant and was named Ernest. His brothers were Linville, Randall, Ura and Norman, and his sisters were Nina, Velma, Vinita, and Oleta.
He is survived by siblings Ura Hardin of Mountain Grove, Norman Hardin of Bonne Terre, Missouri, Velma Veates of Lake St. Mary, Florida, Vinita Vannier of Galena, Missouri, and Oleta Ramsey of Mountain Grove, as well as his two children, Lois Elaine Fields of Valley Park, Missouri, and Dale Lee Hardin of Falls Church, Virginia; his only granddaughter, Angela Fields Rhett, whom he raised as his own, and his great-granddaughter, Emma Leigh Rhett, both of Escondido, California. Angela and Emma had the honor of being with him at the time of his passing.
His wife, Janie Pauline Clark Hardin of High Prairie, Kansas, passed away on March 9, 1998, an event he took very, very hard. He then married Lela Strube of Mountain Grove who died on January 18, 2007.
Mr. Hardin attended Mountain Grove High School and graduated in the Class of 1930 with Irvin Fletcher. The two were roommates in college and remained friends for life. In order to help support his parents and siblings during the Great Depression, Mr. Hardin threw papers in Mountain Grove and handed over his paper route to his sister Oleta when he went to Missouri State Teacher’s College in Springfield. He also worked on the railroad in Mountain Grove for only $1.00 per day, and he worked on a ranch in Montana and also helped his father obtain peaches in Arkansas to sell at their family fruit stand on what is now Old Highway 60 between Mountain Grove and Dunn. He received a bachelor of science degree in education in 1939 from Missouri State Teacher’s College and had a job near Kansas City, Missouri, as a school principal and teacher. He so touched the lives of two students of that school that they exchanged letters and phone calls with him nearly throughout his entire lifetime.
In response to FDR’s New Deal, Mr. Hardin went to Washington, D.C. in search of a job in the 1930s. There he met Janie Pauline Clark and fell in love with the funny, auburn-haired woman who was his beloved wife for 56 years. They married in 1941 and were very close friends with his brother-in-law, Guy Clark, and his wife, Dora, even living with them after they bought their home in Arlington, Virginia. They had their little girl, Lois Elaine, just six weeks before Mr. Hardin shipped out to France as an Army corporal in World War II. He landed at Utah Beach in Normandy and spent the majority of his service in Belgium, eating practically nothing but Brussels sprouts. For the rest of his life he would not touch a Brussels sprout without complaint. During the war he gave his chocolate rations to Belgian children and made various pieces of art from the windshields of airplanes such as buttons, picture frames, and letter openers. He also collected gifts for his sisters, wife, and little girl, returning with Chanel No. 5, Belgian lace, Danish china, and interesting rifles as well as amazing stories.
He returned to Washington in 1945 with an honorable discharge due to the demobilization of troops. The government sent him to engineering school in Tennessee where he and his family lived in a plantation home while he obtained a degree in mechanical engineering. Then he took a job as a civilian with the Department of the Navy.
He and his wife bought a red brick house on a large corner lot in Arlington, Virginia, and built their lives together. His son, Dale Lee, was born one day after their fourth wedding anniversary in 1947.
Mr. Hardin worked for Naval Ordnance Systems Command and lived on destroyers during the Korean War where he was responsible for the missile systems. He was sent on a bosen’s chair from the deck of one destroyer to the deck of the next in order to maintain such systems. After that war he worked in the Pentagon for Naval Ordnance for a total of 30 years. Mr. Hardin was the president of the Association of Engineers and Scientists of the Bureau of Weapons in 1961-62.
Angela Dale was born to Lois Elaine and her husband in 1969, and they both lived with Mr. and Mrs. Hardin from her birth.
Mr. Hardin had designed automatic rifles for the Pentagon and was the commander of the launching systems in the Pacific fleet during the Vietnam War in 1970 while worrying about his son, Dale, who was in the Army on a tour with the 1st of the 12th Infantry, Fourth Division in the Vietnam War zone, 1969-1970. Dale returned in one piece shortly before Mr. Hardin retired from 30 years of civil service.
Harold moved with Pauline, Lois Elaine and Angela back to his hometown to be with his mother and father until they passed away in the 1980s and 1990s.
Mr. Hardin became involved in numerous charitable and community service oriented activities during his retirement. He was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross, Kiwanis Club, United Methodist Church, and Cornerstone Church. He enjoyed giving to Wright County Children’s Home and to charities that repaired cleft palates for children. In the 1980s and 1990s he received numerous awards for community service.
He was a devoted father, and he sent his daughter to college at Southwest Missouri State University, which was his alma mater under a new name. In 1987 he sent his granddaughter to the same. He assisted his son in a business venture, providing the financial backing to ensure success. He helped his son buy a home and helped his granddaughter with her law school expenses. Most of all, he tenderly nudged them all toward the right path when the difficulties of life appeared overwhelming from time to time.
Mr. Hardin particularly loved hunting turkey and deer on his father’s farm near Dunn in Texas County, camping and fishing in Canada, traveling across the United States by automobile, and raising corn and green beans on his father’s farm and in the backyards of his parents, neighbors and, of course, his own. He even planted a separate garden of yellow corn every year on the farm to feed the unsuspecting deer he planned to eat in the fall. His nemesis was the raccoon and rabbit who, despite his efforts, always managed to get too much of his crops. A ritual with his granddaughter was to take her to the farm every December to help him choose a cedar for the Christmas tree. One year he dug up the tree and then planted it in his backyard after Christmas, but its lower branches became such a haven for the dastardly rabbit that he hacked at those branches furiously with a hatchet creating a very sad-looking tree indeed. Of course, he was a strong supporter of conservation, but once shot a turkey in its head only to realize that he had shot two turkeys with the same bullet. Even at the age of 95 he was still hunting, and his dear friend Lee Volner hunted with him for over 15 years.
Mr. Hardin was also a good son to his mother and father who lived to the ages of 98 and 101. He was a tirelessly devoted husband, caring for his wife, Pauline, while she was ill and eventually confined to Kabul Nursing Home, visiting frequently and bringing her fresh vegetables from his garden. He was a deacon in Bonair Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia, for many years. After moving back to Mtn. Grove, he was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church and later became a member of Cornerstone Freewill Baptist Church. He was a steadfast servant of the Lord acting as a Sunday school teacher and sometimes delivering a sermon when called upon to do so. The Lord graced him with a long, healthy life, and he remained vigorous, living in his own home with only minor health issues until just eight weeks before his death.
Funeral services were held on Tuesday, August 2, 2011, in Craig-Hurtt Chapel with Rev. Ronald Turner officiating. Ronald and Wilma Turner sang “Amazing Grace” and “Beyond The Gates.” Pallbearers were Lee Volner, Eugene Crisp, Jerry England, Tom Cody, Ernie Ehlers and Richard Garner. Honorary pallbearers were Wayne Hart, Norman Hardin and Ross Ellis. Full military honors were provided by American Legion Post 30 with Jared Moore serving as bugler. Burial was in Hillcrest Cemetery under the direction of Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home, Mtn. Grove.