Wade Donald Hardwick was born on the farm in Dundy county, Neb., on April 2, 1920 to Thomas Mandeville Hardwick and Myrtle Rowena (Quimby) Hardwick. He passed on to his Eternal reward on Jan. 13, 2009, at his home in Benkelman, Neb. Wade was the sixth child born to his parents and one of six boys. He would have reached his 89th birthday on April 2 of this year.
He was preceded in death by his parents, daughter April Marie, brothers Percy, Omar, Wilford, Merle (Pete), and four sisters, Opal, Marcella, Fairy, and Betty and their respective spouses, and grandsons Brian Bower and Ty Hardwick. Wade's younger brother, Bill, is the only surviving member of the Thomas Hardwick family.
Survivors include Eleanor, his loving wife of 68 years, two sons, Mark in Santa Rosa, Calif., and Randy and fiancee Linda in Linn Valley, Kan., daughter Robyn of Benkelman, and Randy's former wife, Paula Lieker. Other survivors are granddaughter Lisa Michelle Bower, husband John of Quartz Hill, Calif., and their children, Christopher and Brittany; grandson Donald Hardwick and wife Donna of Littleton, Colo., and their children, Maggie and Donald, Jr.; grandson Ellison Weeks of Sherman Oaks, Calif., and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.
Wade grew to manhood on the farm in Dundy county and retained his love of animals and the soil all his life. He went to Los Angeles in 1940 where his brother Wilford was and worked as a welder during World War II in the shipyards at Los Angeles. It was during this time that he met the love of his life, Susan Eleanor Ravenhill, and they were married in the Methodist Episcopal Church on Nov. 26, 1940 in Eugene, Ore., with Wade's oldest sister, Opal, and her husband, Charles (Red) Perkins, as their attendants.
After they were married, Wade and Eleanor moved back to the Benkelman area where they lived on different farms. Wade did the chores the "old-fashioned" way, by hand. During this time, their four children were born at the Morehouse hospital, April (who died in infancy), Mark, Randy, and Robyn.
Wade at one time owned and operated Barger's Hardware, and also was part-owner and manager of Knoly's Café, both in Benkelman. He left the café to pursue a career in radio and television.
After schooling in Dallas, Texas, and Louisville, Ky., in the latter '50s, Wade pioneered the TV show in Goodland, Kan., he called "Uncle Wade's Back Porch." On his early-morning radio program, he was known as "The Old Sandhiller." That is where he first heard the Johnny Mathis song "The Twelfth Of Never" which he asked his nephew, Steve Stroup, to sing at his service.
In 1960 Wade left the radio and television station in Goodland, Kan., and moved his family to the San Fernando valley area of Los Angeles. He went to work for Litton Industries, a company which built a lot of electronic equipment for the government. The family resided in Granada Hills, Calif., area until 1971 and lived through a large earthquake. It was during this time that the children grew up and left home. Eleanor had begun her career as a flower designer in Goodland, Kan., and continued while living in California.
Wade's father-in-law, Harry Duker, who resided in Vancouver, British Columbia, asked Wade and Eleanor to come and live with him after Mrs. Duker had suddenly passed away. They agreed and moved to Vancouver in the early '70s. They purchased a flower store and built it into a successful business in the 10 years they operated it. Wade kept the books and delivered all of Eleanor's flower arrangements.
When Mr. Duker died, they sold the store and wintered in Mesa, Ariz., and spent the summers in St. Francis, Kan. They eventually bought and remodeled an older home in St. Francis and lived there until moving to Benkelman in 2008.
In the late '90s Wade underwent quadruple bypass surgery and was given seven years to live.
Playing baseball and softball was something he loved and participated in as long as he was able. And of course he was a big fan of the Colorado Rockies and the Denver Broncos.
Wade was a kind and loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
Memorials may be given in Wade's name to the Dundy County Museum, PO Box 634, Benkelman, NE 69021.
Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009 at the Forch Funeral Chapel in Benkelman. Escorts were Zack, JC, Nate, and Jordan Stroup, Dave Samler, and Donnie and Eldon Hardwick. Interment followed at the Benkelman cemetery.
Forch Funeral Chapel, Inc., Benkelman and Stratton, handled all the arrangements.