Tom Hardesty

February 22, 1937-October 30, 2004

A treasured friend to many, missed by all.

Thomas Jefferson Hardesty was born Feb. 22, 1937, in Sigourney, the son of Samuel and Mabel (Liechti) Hardesty. He grew up in Sigourney and graduated from Sigourney High School in 1955. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. in 1964 he lived in New York City, Washington D.C. and Augusta, W. Va. before moving back to Sigourney in 1986. He was a journalist for the Oskaloosa Herald, retiring in 1999. He brought joy and entertainment to many with his piano recitals at nursing homes and hospitals in Keokuk and Mahaska counties.

He is survived by two sons, Max and Jude, both of Portland, Ore.; two daughters, Ilana of Watertown, Mass. and Tamara of Manchester, Conn.; two grandchildren; one brother, Samuel Ray of McKinney, Texas; and a good friend Carol Dillon of Sigourney.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Michael William; and a sister Miriam Anne Holloway.


Who was Tom Hardesty?

He was a multi-faceted gem, a sparkling diamond personality who spread joy to others with his numerous gifts: his genius for the written word, his talent for soul-searching poetry, his ability to both appreciate and create beautiful music, his artistic flair that touched every aspect of his personality, his ability to chronicle life through photographs. Tom was a giver, a thoughtful man who relished sending small (meticulously wrapped!) packages to his friends all over the globe. He made friends easily as people were drawn to his light.

Tom was also a brave fighter, rallying his forces against the demon of bipolar depression! He always faced life's battles with courage, wit, and class. One might say that "Style" was his middle name. Tom was a true Renaissance man.

I first became acquainted with Mr. Hardesty after I corresponded with him following the death of his sister Miriam. Like Tom, I missed his little brother, Mike, who passed away on October 10, 1997. Tom became like a member of the family in many ways. We all found him charming. Jo and I always joked that we were Tom's little sisters! Our British friend Ed had instant rapport with Tom; the two of them could discuss music, movies and philosopy for hours. Tom loved Jo's beef stroganoff and devoured several helpings when he came to dinner while visiting us in Arlington, Virginia. His post-prandial anecdotes kept us entertained for hours.

Both Mike and Tom were rare folks, the kind you never forget. The kind you will always miss, no matter how many seasons pass...


Prayer for My Brother

(Tom's poignant tribute to Michael)

Mike was my little brother,
He always was my little brother
and he always will be.

Oh, Great Spirit,
My little brother stands before you
to make an account for himself.

Shine down your blessings on him
now as always.

Help us to be ever mindful of
the greatest blessing of them all
in this life-

When the dawn breaks on a new day
and the bright sun shines on everything.

Let a new day dawn for Michael, too,
Great Spirit, I do ask,
by keeping memories of him alive
deep in our hearts.

October 16, 1997
Quantico National Cemetery,

Tom Hardesty


Tom's artistic whimsy always brought a smile

A visit to the Baldwins, Autumn 1999

Beloved pet and pal Lulu

 Lulu mugging for Tom's camera

 As a young university student in 1960. Harvard was a very rewarding experience for Tom.

 Tom, daughter Tamara, and the two new puppies getting acquainted in West Virginia 1984

Tom and a friend chatting on the streets of downtown Oskaloosa, Iowa

Music to the ears?? Ed, Tom and Rosy rehearse on the electronic keyboard






Franz Schubert's "Serenade" Conducted by Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra