Hardy was born in the Hopewell community near Liberty Hill, Texas, on September 21, 1923. Growing up in a cotton farming family, he attended the Hopewell school until he outgrew the simple, one room, first through eighth grade school and transferred to Liberty Hill High School, from which he graduated in 1942. He enlisted in the Navy in August 1944, joining his ship, the LSM 79, in San Diego before heading to the Pacific Theater and battling the Axis at Okinawa. Hardy was promoted to Fireman First Class prior to his Honorable Discharge in 1946.
After the war, he returned to Austin where he met his beloved wife, Nelma, who he quickly courted and married in June 1947. He joined the Austin Fire Department in 1949, where he earned the nickname “Foots” after tripping over his own feet while playing handball with his fellow firemen between calls.
Retiring at the rank of Captain in 1981 after nearly 32 years of service with AFD, he and Nelma moved out to Liberty Hill, building their home on property that has been in his family since the Civil War. Their retirement years were filled with their love for their hobby – early Ford V-8s. Over the years, they acquired and restored quite a collection of antique Fords and Thunderbirds, traveling all over the country with their running buddies in the local and national Early Ford V-8 Club of America. Their love of old cars and traveling to meets was a family affair, with their daughter and two grandchildren in tow. He was a charter member of the Capitol City and Southern Texas regional groups.
Hardy is preceded in death by his parents, St. Paul and Frankie (Conway) Johnson; his son, Paul Joseph Johnson; infant son, William Richard Johnson; and brother-in-law, Alton Urbanek.
He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 68 years, Nelma Jean (Izard); daughter, Joyce Nell (Johnson) Parsons; granddaughter, Keri Danell (Parsons) and husband, Travis Lansdell; grandson, Joseph Scott Parsons and fiancee, Angie Sarmiento; sister, Pauline (Johnson) Urbanek; and numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins.
Many thanks to Altus Hospice of the Hills; Ms. Abby, Ms. Kellie, and Ms. Tina.
The family welcomed friends and family for visitation from 6 to 8 PM on Thursday, April 2nd at Cook-Walden Davis Funeral Home in Georgetown. Funeral services were Friday, April 3rd at 10 AM in the chapel of Cook-Walden Davis Funeral Home in Georgetown. Interment followed at Hopewell Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Scott Parsons, Travis Lansdell, Gordon Urbanek, Brian Urbanek, Tripp Parsons, Joe Lansdell, Christopher GiOtis, and Ryan Zwernemann. Honorary pallbearers will be his fellow retired firemen of the Austin Fire Department.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Cancer Support Community Central Texas or the charity of your choice.
Words of comfort may be shared with the family at www.cookwaldendavisfuneralhome.com.