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Neil O. Hardy, 88

UPDATE Neil O. Hardy, a 51-year resident of Westport, died June 3 at the Wilton Meadows Rehabilitation and Health Care Center after a brief illness. He was 88.

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Neil Hardy: medical illustrator. Contributed photo

Born July 30, 1929 in Syracuse, New York, he was the younger son of Paul Reeves Hardy and Marion Osgood Hardy.

He moved with his family to Baltimore in 1942, where he attended Sparrows Point High School, graduating in 1947.

After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict, attached to a mapping unit, he attended the Maryland Institute of Art and the Johns Hopkins University, from which he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

Having discovered the field of medical art early in life, he chose to pursue a Master’s Degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, graduating in 1958.

He immediately moved to New York City and began his career by starting a department of medical illustration at the Eye Bank for Sight Restoration, a part of Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital, and concurrently developed a freelance medical scientific art business.

In July 1961, he married Judith Dunlop from Baltimore and moved to White Plains, New York where he turned to being a freelance illustrator full time.

With a growing family, Neil and Judy and children John, 5, and Heather, 2, moved to their present home in Westport where he worked in his home studio until his retirement in 2003.

Because of his love of medical illustration and his eagerness to assist young artists, he was especially happy and proud to spend 19 years teaching in the medical arts program at the Johns Hopkins Medical School as assistant professor.

Among his foremost joys, professionally, was receiving the Ranice W. Crosby Distinguished Achievement Award from the Johns Hopkins University and The Brodel Award for Excellence in Education from the Association of Medical Illustrators.

He was a life member of the group and served a term as president and several years on its board.

His artwork was published in numerous medical journals, books, and professional journals. In addition, his illustrations appeared in The New York Times, the Reader’s Digest, Country Journal, and Golf Digest.

His illustrations were exhibited throughout the world and in the United States. He was honored by the Westport Library in 2000 and the Weston Library in 2015 to have a one-man exhibit of his work.

Working in a home studio gave him an opportunity to serve as assistant scoutmaster of Troop 100 of the Boy Scouts of America, an assistant coach of a girls Little League softball, illustrate for the Westport Weston Health District, and participate in the Westport Rotary Club projects as well as do community service with the Y’s Men of Westport Weston.

Since, 2007, he has been a member of the board of the Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities and produced three series featuring Westport’s renowned artists.

Although a busy professional and volunteer member of the community, he was a devoted family man.

He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 56 years, Judy, his son, John, and wife Jenny of Jacksonville, Florida, his daughter, Heather Hardy of Tucson, Arizona, a four grandchildren — Vanessa Hardy, Dr. Jessica A. Hardy, Jacob E. Hardy, and John D. Hardy, Jr. (Jack), and many nieces and nephews.

Neil would wish to be remembered by all who knew him as a man who loved life, a good joke or pun, his precious family and as a caring citizen who was always looking to make a new friend.

One of his favorite quotes when asked what medical illustrators do was to say: “Trained medical illustrators draw what can’t be seen, watch what has never been done, and then tell thousands about it without saying a word.”

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, July 22 at 1 p.m. at the Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Ave.

Memorial contributions in Neil’s honor can be sent to the Westport Center for Senior Activities at the above address or In honor of Neil O. Hardy, Medical Illustrator, The John’s Hopkins University Department. of Art as Applied to Medicine,  Mark Rizzo, John’s Hopkins School of Medicine Development, 750 East Pratt St. 17th floor,  Baltimore, MD 21202.
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This story has been updated with the date of a memorial service and where contributions may be made.

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