In the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 18, 2017, Fred Leroy Hardin, 72, took his final earthly bow and shuffled off this mortal coil to join that great Heavenly Thespian Troupe in the sky.
Fred was born on December 5, 1944, to the late Amos and Amy Hardin. He and his brother Eugene, spent their childhood in Rutherford County, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. Upon graduating from Rutherford High School, he attended Western Carolina College, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education.
In the fall of 1967, he was hired by the Robins AFB School System, where he would teach 6th grade for the next 25 years. Three years later, he would marry Nancy (nee McCollough) Hardin, who taught 5th grade just down the hall. His lifelong commitment to education extended beyond his career as a teacher. He also earned his Masters in Education, with certification in teaching gifted children, and participated in the Mercer Medical Standardized Patient Program from it's inception. After leaving the Base Schools, he worked in the Learning Support Center at Macon State College for 11 years and spent the last 5 years of his career at John Heard Elementary in Bibb County, where he taught in the gifted program. In 2010, after 41 years in education, and having touched the lives of hundreds of students, Fred retired.
If teaching was Fred's calling, his great passion was the theatre. For over four decades, he would be seen performing in at least 35 plays and directing another 39 across stages in Warner Robins and Macon, including Theatre Macon, Macon Little Theatre, and Macon State College. It was, however, at the Warner Robins Little Theatre where he would find his artistic home, serving as its President for 4 years and on its Board for over 30. It would remain close to his heart, and his commitment to its purpose and its people would remain strong, even in the very closing days of his life. He had just begun casting his 40th play when he fell ill.
Above all, Fred found his greatest joy in his family. Brother, Husband, Father, Father-in-Law, Uncle, and Grandpa, he fostered the same dedication to learning, integrity, and creativity in his private life that he shared with the public. He was so proud of his two sons, and he so enjoyed traveling with them and watching them become such upstanding adults. He delighted in his special daughters-in law and having "his girls" around him. Dearly beloved to him were his 3 precious grandchildren, for whom he played a very special visitor from the North Pole every Christmas. Through all of this, he stood by and drew strength from his wife and partner of 47 years, travelling together often, and watching many, many movies.
Fred was a wonderful gardener. He loved his plants and his yard work. He loved to travel, both abroad and around the US. He was an avid collector of music, movies, movie soundtracks, and recorded plays. He had over 8000 in his collection.
His memory will forever be treasured by his loving wife of 47 years, Nancy McCollough Hardin of Warner Robins; sons: Gregory A Hardin of Evanston, Illinois; & Jeffrey S. Hardin of Atlanta; daughters-in-law: Kelly S. of Evanston, Illinois, & Deanna I. of Atlanta; grandchildren: Maximilian, Alistair, and Scarlett Hardin, all of Evanston, Illinois; brother: Forrest Eugene Hardin & wife, Carolyn, of Forest City, North Carolina; and 2 nieces, Amanda & Shelley.
A memorial service to celebrate Fred's life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 23, 2017 in the Chapel of McCullough Funeral Home. Mr. Hardin will be laid to rest in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggests memorial donations be given in memory of Fred Leroy Hardin to: Warner Robins Little Theater, P.O. Box 807, Warner Robins, GA 31099 or Ronald McDonald House, 1160 Forsyth Street, Macon, GA 31201.
Go to www.mcculloughfh.com to sign the Online Registry for the family. McCullough Funeral Home and Crematory has the privilege of being entrusted with Mr. Hardin's arrangements.
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