RICHARD MASTERS HARDING: Obituary

 

For the past 14 years Dick had been successfully treated for Parkinson's disease but was diagnosed with cancer on October 24, 2000. He died October 26, 2001 at Fergus, Ontario.

Dick was born on April 10, 1933 in Guelph, Ontario and was raised in Park Hill, Ontario. He entered RMC in 1953 and was assigned to 3 Squadron. It didn't take long for us to discover what a gem he was. He was loyal to us on that third floor of Haldimand, but he also frequented other dormitories where his friendship was equally in demand. His physical strength, outgoing personality, quick wit, sense of humour and above all, his concern and compassion for others, endeared him to his fellow recruits. In our first summer of navigator training at Winnipeg, we were able to loosen up a little (the 25-cent beer helped!), and the cadets from Royal Roads and CMR who joined us there soon discovered the fun-loving side of Dick.

He earned his navigator wings in 1956 and served as an Air Intercept (AI) navigator on CF-100s with 425 Squadron and the Electronic Warfare Unit at St. Hubert. He developed ear problems and left the service in February 1963 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He also earned a B.Sc. at Sir George William College while at St. Hubert.

Dick started his business career with Burrows Business Machines and Investor's Group and then became a teacher of business education and department head in North York, Ontario. He taught at Nelson Boylen Secondary School, Emery Collegiate Institute and George S. Harvey Secondary School for a total of 21 years and obtained a second academic degree at York University. Eleanor was a teacher and department head in York Region at the same time.

Dick and Eleanor lived in the Aurora area from 1968 to 1995 and raised four beautiful and talented children: Pat, Susan, Steve and Kerin. Dick was active in the Aurora community as a hockey coach, was an executive member of AIM for Change (a women's support association) and along with Eleanor was an actor and stage hand in Theatre Aurora. They moved to Pine Meadows, Belwood, Ontario in the fall of 1995. Dick Illingworth, a Central Ontario personality, stated that Aurora would sorely miss the Hardings.

The Hardings have been adventurous travellers. Their notable trips include a motorhome tour of eastern Canada and U.S.A., an eight-month tour of Europe and Africa, and trips to central Africa where their daughter Susan and her family live in Kinshasa, The Democratic Republic of the Congo. They also made trips to British Columbia and western Canada to visit their son Steve and his family.

When he turned 50, Dick said that he needed to liven up his life. He contemplated chasing women, learning to fly or buying a motorcycle. He chose the last when he purchased and learned to ride a Yamaha 750. With Eleanor on the back seat, they toured most of southern and central Ontario.

Dick is survived by Eleanor, their four children, their spouses, Dr. Brian Cameron of Dundas, Jason Sheper of Kinshasa, Sandy Harding of Calgary, and Frank Keller of Aurora, eight grandchildren and his brother Jim and wife Mary of Shelburne.

A memorial service was held in Fergus according to the rites of the B'Hai Faith. The tributes to Dick from his family, the many residents of Pine Meadows and a friend from the Parkinson's Foundation (Dick was the recipient of the Toronto Chapter's 1992 Volunteer Award) provided ample evidence of the many lives he touched. They all spoke of the same great guy we met 48 years ago. A number of his RMC classmates and their spouses attended the visitation and funeral.

Always a college supporter, Dick cherished the ex-cadets traditions and was a consistent five-year reunion attendee. He was present at the 2000 weekend and, in spite of the physical demands that his condition presented, he completed the Sunday morning parade to the Arch.

The loves of Dick's life are prominently displayed in a framed photograph in his Pine Meadows home. In the photo, he is surrounded by his beautiful family and is wearing a red sweater bearing the college crest.

Author: 3859 D.E. Wright
Published in Veritas magazine, Spring 2002

 

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