John Hardy (1932–2017)

Former T Street resident John David Hardy, 85, died in his home in Gloucester, MA, on May 10, 2017. He and his wife, Bonnie, lived in Burleith from 1974 to 2014, when they moved to Gloucester.


Born to Frances Helena Kopp and Theodore Hardy in Buffalo, NY, Mr. Hardy grew up in Bradford, PA, among his mother’s family of recent Polish emigrants. From modest means, Mr. Hardy earned a scholarship to St. Bonaventure University where he distinguished himself as a student of literature. His time as a budding scholar was short-lived however: just after being graduated in 1953, he was drafted. After training at Fort Sill, OK, he served as an artillery officer in Korea until 1955.

The G.I. Bill enabled Mr. Hardy to attend Columbia University Law School, and despite working jobs in tunnels and at night, he fell in love with New York City. Broadway captured his imagination, and the White Horse Tavern his extra change. Service to the United States Government brought him to Washington, DC. After eight years at the Federal Communications Commission, he joined Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s staff in 1968. On the Senate Commerce Committee, he directed the national tourism policy study after the energy crisis in 1973. He then turned his attention to maritime law, serving as merchant marine counsel from 1978–1987. He left Senator Inouye’s staff in 1990 and continued in private practice for another 20 years.

It was on Capitol Hill that Mr. Hardy met his loving and devoted wife, Bonnie O’Hagan Cook. They married in 1971 and raised three children in the Burleith neighborhood. Mr. Hardy continued his lifetime commitment to service at Holy Trinity Church, where he was a dedicated parishioner. His activities with the Church included organizing the first shelter for the homeless during the holiday season. He was a fixture at the daily 7 am Mass for many years and would provide transportation for friends so they too could attend.

Known for his prodigious memory, quick wit, and remarkable stories, Mr. Hardy delighted his friends and was a formidable opponent in any debate. He remained a devoted student of literature and theology throughout his life, and he shared his love and knowledge of Irish verse with all who knew him. His dedication to daily meditation and prayer helped him to be a gentler person and “to think of others,” as he always urged his children to do.

Mr. Hardy is survived by his wife, Bonnie Cook Hardy of Gloucester; Joshua Hardy, Joanna Burt-Kinderman, and their children, Ramona Transue and Willa May of Hillsboro, WV; Molly O’Hagan Hardy of Worcester, MA; Kate and Travis Bonilla and their children, Francis Lee and Augustine Joshua of McMinnville, OR.

A Memorial Mass was celebrated in Our Lady of Good Voyage in Gloucester, MA on May 16. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to So Others May Eat in Washington, or to the Rose Baker Senior Center in Gloucester.

Read more at the Gloucester Times.