David R. Hardee, 76, former NCAAE Middle School Coach of the Year

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David R. Hardee
David R. Hardee

WILMINGTON — Coach David R. Hardee, 76, died Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, after a period of declining health.

Coach Hardee was born in High Point, N.C., on Nov. 5, 1940, to the late E.C. Hardee and Helen C. Hardee.

He is survived by Margot, his wife of 51 years; son, Bryant; daughter, Allison Mead (John); three grandchildren, Holly McClelland, Sydney Mead and John David Mead, all of Wilmington; brother, Stephen C. Hardee of Oklahoma City, Okla.; his little buddy, Amy; and his many cousins.

Coach Hardee was a 1960 graduate of Chapel Hill High School and, following graduation, he proudly served four years in the U.S. Air Force. After returning from service, he enrolled in High Point College and graduated in 1967. He was offered a teaching position in New Hanover County and began a coaching career that spanned some 38 years.

Of those years, 35 years of that time was spent at Noble Middle School, where he coached a number of both boys’ and girls’ sports teams to county championships. In 2000, he was selected as NCAAE Middle School Coach of the Year. He worked with and competed against many outstanding coaches and was privileged to have taught and coached hundreds, if not thousands, of young players.

Throughout his life, Coach Hardee enjoyed and loved music. He was blessed with an extraordinary tenor voice and sang in numerous choral groups and church choirs. He performed solos with a number of church groups and with The Wilmington Choral Society. Among the works in which he did solos were Messiah, Mozart Requiem, The Crucifixion, The Seven Last Words of Christ, The Gospel Mass and many more. He served on the Choral Society Board and as its president for several years. In January 2016, they honored him as the president emeritus. Singing and taking part in musical concerts was one of the great joys in his life.

Our family would like to take this time to extend our heartfelt thanks and acknowledgement to a number of people. First, we would like to thank his doctors who went to extraordinary lengths to help provide him with the medical care that helped him have a good quality of life over the years and in recent months, Dr. Kramer, Dr. Allen, Dr. Siddiqi and Dr. Kotz. We especially thank Dr. Kotz for his care which helped him beat incredible odds against the lung cancer he was diagnosed with in late 2007 and allowed us all to have him with us many more years.

We also want to thank the staff of New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Duke University Health System, and Lower Cape Fear Hospice for their care, and last but not least, the crew of East Care Air Crew who safely flew him from Wilmington to Duke.

Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Andrews Market Street Chapel. Services will be held at at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1403 Market St., Wilmington. A graveside service will be held at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, at High Point at Springhill United Methodist Church, 240 Spring Hill Church Road, High Point, with a reception to follow in the fellowship building.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Trinity United Methodist Church Choir, The Wilmington Choral Society or Lower Cape Fear Hospice.