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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

James M. Hardin, 72

James Martin Hardin of Port Orchard, Wash. and Ridgefield, a former associate executive director of the Westport Weston YMCA, died Dec. 16 at the Connecticut Regional Hospice Center in Branford. He was 72.

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James M. Hardin: former Westport Weston YMCA associate executive director.  Contributed photo

He was born March 8, 1941, in Belmont, N.C. to Robert and Estelle (Mullis) Hardin. He graduated from Belmont High School and went on to earn a B.S. from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.

He served in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Orlando, during the Vietnam era. After leaving the military, he spent the next 14 years in administrative management for CNA Insurance, transferring from Orlando to Pittsburgh to Chicago.

He was an exceptional manager who believed in “managing in a human world,” his family said. His career continued with senior management positions within the insurance industry in White Plains, N.Y. and West Hartford, culminating with ownership of his own agency in Norfolk, Va. in the late 1980s.

After a period of reflection, he relocated back to Connecticut, where he joined the staff of the Westport Weston YMCA. At the time of his retirement in 2007, he had risen to the position of associate executive director.

While at the Y, he served for a period as president of the Westport Downtown Merchants Association.

During this time, he lived at Compo Beach, where he frequently entertained friends and family. On any given morning, he could be found in his favorite place—sitting on the beach with his coffee.

Upon his retirement, he joined his son in Port Orchard, where he resided until 2013. While living in Port Orchard, he worked as a supervisor for the enumerators on the 2010 census team.

He was a lifelong supporter of civil rights, dating back to the 1960s. His hero was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was a member of the NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

He is survived by his former wife, Maria Hardin of Ridgefield; his son, Christian Hardin of Port Orchard; his daughter, Kelly Heese of Pound Ridge, N.Y.; his grandson, Will Heese; his siblings, Nancy Fowler of Huntersville, N.C.; Cordelia Armstrong of Belmont, N.C., and Robert Hardin of Huntersville, N.C. He was predeceased by his sisters, Martha Frye of Mount Holly, N.C. and Paula Hardin of Belmont. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held Sunday, Jan. 5 at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Westport, 10 Lyons Plains Road,  http://www.uuwestport.org.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104; Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western CT, 39 Old Ridgebury Road, Danbury, CT 06810, or Connecticut Hospice, 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405.

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Posted 12/24/13 at 06:10 PM  Permalink



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