At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Benevolent Fund of Porter Hills
3600 E. Fulton St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A genuine, kindhearted, and honest man, Robert Hardesty was such a blessing in the lives of everyone he met. He was never one to sit still and had an amazing mind with a zest for life that was easy to see. Robert was a devoted husband and loving father, and life only became all the better when his family grew to include grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A longtime resident of the community he loved, he was known to be a hardworking man of his word. Life will never be the same without Robert here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
Nearly a century has passed since our nation had issues such as unsafe working conditions, a lack of child labor laws, and a middle class that was growing increasingly more uncertain of what the future held. There was much to celebrate in 1918, however, as WWI came to an end, leaving the United States recognized as a world leader for the first time. This same year was met with great joy for William and Ida (Ordnung) Hardesty as they were blessed with the birth of the baby boy they named Robert Ordnung on December 3, 1918, in Oregon, Illinois. He was the younger of two Hardesty boys as he was raised in the family home alongside his brother, Harold, who was three years older. Robert’s father worked a small farm and also worked at a piano factory while his mother was a homemaker. Tragedy struck in his life with the death of his father when Robert was just a young boy of nine. His mother picked up everything on her own, and she made sure that her boys had music lessons. As a result, Robert played the trumpet while his brother played the clarinet and his mother played piano with them. They also had voice lessons and were overall very musical. Robert attended local schools and was one of 36 students in his graduating class. After graduating from high school in 1936, he attended reunions long after.
As a young man Robert was eager for all that life had in store. He attended Oregon Bible College with plans of going into ministry. There, Robert met Zelda Cooper when she was attending a summer program. They were smitten and began dating. Once she returned to her home state of Missouri, Robert made it out there whenever he could. Most times, he got there by hitchhiking while wearing a suit and hat. Perhaps this is why he was picked up by women most of the time! Their love continued to grow, and with a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Robert and Zelda were married on December 28, 1942. Together they welcomed two daughters including Karen and Doris into their hearts and home.
After graduating, Robert was ready to take the next step. He first led a church in Omaha, Nebraska, and later answered a call to lead a church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Robert later left ministry to take a job as a precision grinder at Lear Siegler. He was very mechanical with a mind like an engineer. They had a problem trying to increase production from seven units per hour, but that came to an end one night when Robert came up with an idea to reverse the production process. This change increased production to 35 per hour!
All who knew Robert would agree that he was never one to be still. He had a great mind, and he was always putting it to good use. Rather than just moving a piano to a different room or home, Robert took it apart and then reassembled it. He was an avid reader who preferred books on Einstein, Edison, or other inventors, and while living at Porter Hills he was known as the puzzle man. With a lifelong love for music, Robert enjoyed singing in choirs including Shuberts Choir and Porter Hills Singers later in life. He wasn’t a fussy eater and would eat just about anything, but he especially loved peanut brittle and chocolate ice cream. In August of 2001, Robert was deeply saddened with the death of his wife, Zelda. They were living at Porter Hills by that time.
Brighter days were on the horizon for Robert when he met a woman named Lois Geegh when she moved there in April of 2002. They quickly took to each other, and she asked him to go out for corn meal, which was a favorite of them both. They were married in December of that year.
They loved traveling together, visiting places like Calgary, Bampf, the Rockies, Florida, Arizona, and to attend class reunions. No matter what they were doing, Robert and Lois simply enjoyed sharing life together. In April of 2015, Robert mourned the loss of his wife, Lois.
With unending love for his family and friends, Robert Hardesty was an extraordinary man to know and love. Although he accomplished so much of which to be proud, he was a humble man whose greatest source of pride and joy was found in his loving family. Dependable and easy to forgive, Robert had a way of making others feel at ease. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
Mr. Robert Hardesty aged 98, of Grand Rapids, went to be with his Lord on January 1, 2017. He was preceded in death by his wives, Zelda and Lois. Robert is survived by his daughters, Karen (Ray) Dahlgren and Doris (Ron) Horling; step-daughters, Sandy (Jim) Byrne and Linn Gann; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends. The Memorial Service will be held at 2 PM on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 in the Meeting House of Porter Hills, 3600 E. Fulton Rd SE. The family will receive visitors for one hour prior to the service. Contributions in his memory may be made to Porter Hills Benevolent Fund. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to read his lifestory, archive a memory, photo, or sign the guestbook online.