At the Celebrate Coronado event this Wednesday, the annual Lewis R. Hardy Jr. award will be presented to an individual who has made significant business and civic contributions, showing devotion to the overall quality of life in our community. Who exactly was Lewis R. Hardy Jr.? One of his sons, Rog Hardy (Lewis R. Hardy III), shared some photos and this brief Coro-centric Biographical Sketch of Lewis R. Hardy Jr. summarizing Hardy’s passion for Coronado dating back to 1943.
Lew Hardy was born in 1917 in Memphis, TN, grew up in Louisville, KY, and earned his Navy wings in 1941. He first arrived in Coronado in 1943 with his bride Helen for advanced training before being deployed to the South Pacific. They were billeted at the Del and loved their short experience.
Lew and Helen were next stationed at North Island in 1949, this time bringing young sons Rog and Craig. After a short stay at a rooming house near 10th and C, they rented a redwood bungalow near 5th and A, with a 1909 clinker brick fireplace for making rabbit stew. They were re-posted to North Island in 1952 and the same house was for sale so they quickly bought it. When transferred away, they kept the house with long-term plans to set roots there after Navy service.
Helen and Lew lived in the house again in the early ‘60’s, this time also with third son Bill, before finally moving back for good in 1969. Lew retired from the Navy in 1970. His record is on the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation National Flight Log website at:
After retiring from the Navy, Lew became a Sun Life Insurance agent and designed benefit plans for small businesses. He immediately became an impassioned member of the Coronado Optimists and soon joined the Chamber of Commerce. In the late ’70’s he successfully ran for City Council.
A couple of example Coronado Journal clippings from his service days…
Lew was in peak health, vigorously pursuing his civic service when he developed pancreatic cancer and died suddenly two days short of his 63rd birthday in 1980. Helen lived in the bungalow until she died in 2003. Their ashes were scattered at sea and they are remembered on a memorial marker at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
The memory of Lew’s dedication and service to Coronado lives as the namesake of the Chamber of Commerce Lewis R. Hardy, Jr. Award for service to the community. His family is very grateful and knows Lew would be proud.