When Mike Carr was growing up in Dade City, he viewed Roy T. Hardy as a giant among men.
“He was just so kind,” Carr said, of Hardy, who died Sept. 19 at the age of 94.
Carr thought so highly of Hardy that he said he routinely referred to him as “the patron saint of Dade City.”
The Kiwanis Club and the city of Dade City also thought highly of Roy, and his wife, Martha, and honored them by naming a trail after them.
The couple moved to Dade City in the late 1940s and opened Hardy’s & Lingle’s Department Store, which later became Hardy’s Department Store.
Carr said his family shopped there, and one of the highlights was the Red Goose shoes that Hardy’s sold.
“There was this huge giant Red Goose in the front window of the store,” Carr recalled, noting that whenever a pair of the shoes was sold a child could pull the goose’s neck and an egg would drop out.
“In the egg, there was a prize of some sort,” Carr said, adding it was a huge hit with kids.
Later on, the couple closed the store, and concentrated on farming and their cattle.
Throughout it all, Hardy was devoted to the Dade City Kiwanis Club.
“If it’s in Kiwanis, he’s done it,” Carr said, noting that Hardy was president of the Dade City Club, a two-time Kiwanis governor of the state of Florida and held other offices, too.
Keith Williams, another member, marveled at Hardy’s commitment to the club.
“He had a 69-year perfect attendance,” said Williams, past president of the club.
“It (Kiwanis) was a very big deal to him,” agreed Penny Morrill, another longtime member.
“Even in his last six months, when he was failing, his family brought him every Tuesday to meetings,” she said. “He actually stopped coming to Kiwanis, about a month, six weeks, ago. We knew then that it wasn’t going to be too long,” said Morrill, who met Hardy during the 1980s.
Morrill said she’s sad at Hardy’s passing for herself, but happy for him.
“He was always very clear, particularly in his later years, that he wished that God would take him, so he could be with his Martha.
“He’s been waiting for this for a long time.
“They were glued at the hip.
“If he was out in the field haying, she was in the truck with him,” Morrill said.
Carr agreed: “Until Martha passed away … if you saw Roy, you saw Martha. They were inseparable.”
Carr also noted the couple was known for their generosity.
“Many, many years ago, he and his wife Martha started a little benevolent foundation called the Hardy Benevolent Fund,” Carr said. “The fund was set up to help cover medical costs of needy citizens around the area, primarily children.
“Our major fundraiser for years and years and years was the Roy Hardy Fish Fry,” Carr said.
“The fish frys were his baby,” Morrill said. “You fried the fish the way Roy said. You made the coleslaw the way Roy said. You used the seasonings, the way Roy said.”
“It was all his.
“Before his wife passed, she would always help make the coleslaw. She and Agnes Lamb — that’s another one who passed. They would always make the coleslaw.”
Hardy left his mark, Williams said, noting he will always think of him as “a true friend. A true gentleman. One of the last really good guys.”
Morrill said his concern for others was consistent and genuine.
“I think it was the nature that God gave him. His focus was always to help others,” she said.
Carr said Hardy left an impression on the community.
“If you were born and raised in Dade City, you knew Roy Hardy,” Carr said.
Published September 27, 2017