In Memory

Steve Hardy

Steve Hardy

The following information was provided by Steve's brother and sister:

Many of Steve's classmates have shared their experiences with and memories of Steve on this site, and his family appreciates the kind words more than you can know. We thought some of you might be interested in Steve' years following high school.
The summer after graduation from CLCHS Steve had one final summer playing organized baseball (his favorite sport) for the Crystal Lake American Legion team. One last chance to play baseball with friends like Barney Barchard, Larry Reimer, John Scotillo (now Judge Scotillo), Brian Gallagher and others. As usual in those days CL had a winning season but lost in the McHenry County championship game to Woodstock. After that Steve's sports activities were pretty much limited to perfecting his golf game, frequently shooting in the high 70s and beating his older brother on a regular basis.
In the fall of 1969 Steve attended the U of I in Champaign along with a number of other CLCHS grads including his good friends Mark Hamby and Dave Krchak. The three of them remained close friends through 4 years of college. In the spring of 1973 Steve graduated from the U of I with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and his academic achievements were recognized by election to Phi Beta Kappa his senior year.
In his final semester at the U of I, Steve student taught English in the Arlington Heights school district. Although the Arlington district offered him a job that fall, he decided to return to Champaign to work for a while to raise money for grad school. He rented a small apartment in Champaign from a young couple he knew from undergrad days and took a night job at the Champaign post office. Steve continued this solitary arrangement through 1974, but early in 1975 it started getting to him and in April of 1975 he came back home to CL to get the help of his family in dealing with his personal issues. Despite the constant support and best efforts of his mother, the rest of his family and many family friends over the next few months, Steve decided to deal with the problems the only way he knew how and died on September 19, 1975.
Fortunately Steve got to meet and spend quality time with his extended family during and after college, including his sister-in-law Nancy, his brother-in-law Bob and his nephew and 3 of his 4 nieces. The little ones seemed to be the one positive element in Steve's life during his final days. Until his final few months Steve remained the same quiet, intelligent, honorable person so many of you remember. As so many have observed, he was one of life's good guys.
Steve is sorely missed by his brother and sister and their families, but as time has passed, it has become preferable to remember the 24 wonderful years shared with him rather than the tragic final months. Although the family has often discussed what we could have done differently, we realize that everyone who knew of Steve's situation, and cared about him, did the best they could to help him - but to no avail. So we encourage all his classmates to remember Steve fondly and without remorse over what might have been.

Ralph Hardy & Diane Hardy Hoerter

Please post your memories of Steve below.

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11/21/08 12:04 AM #2    

Gerald Wilhelmi

Steve was one of the kindest gentlest persons. Some individuals would get into ridicule or other cruelty and Steve would never be a part of that/ I often thought of Steve over the years and had heard about his passing. I hoped it wasn't true. Steve was one of the sanest persons I have known and the world is a better place for his having spent time with us


11/25/08 04:49 PM #3    

John Lutsch

I first got to know Steve when we played football together at CLCHS. He was quiet and reserved at times, but had a fun sense of humor and a mischievous side to his personality. We worked together one summer at CLCHS, as summer help. Steve was the painter and I was the lawn cutting kid. We had SOME fun, ok not always doing what we were supposed to. Steve was one of the nicest people I ever met. A real loss to humanity.

12/10/08 11:20 AM #4    

Gary Parrish

At our Sr. year post basketball ceremony/dinner, I recall Coach (John Swenson) saying Steve was one of the finest young men he ever met and hoped that his son would grow up to be like Steve.

12/11/08 08:02 AM #5    

Rick Barchard

Steve was one of my closest friends from the day I moved to Crystal Lake. We played a lot of basketball with the Lakewood guys on Rick Lewis' court in our junior high days. His mom treated me like another son. We hung out a lot and played organized baseball together for over 7 years. I always wished I could have a curve ball like Steve's. We once took an old row boat out in early April to play "Ice Breaker" on the lake. Once we "rammed" the ice, it peeled the bottom off the boat. With winter gear on, we got heavy quick and really worked hard to get to shore. Mrs. Hardy could not believe it when we walked in, but got us stripped down and wrapped up and we lived another day. It hurts a lot when I think about Steve as I had just gone to see him a week or so before the end. He seemed confident he was getting better. That "why" question pops in my head a lot and writing this is a little hard. I kept close to his Mom and hugged her a lot until her passing. I admired her very much.

02/22/09 10:56 PM #6    

Mark Hamby

Steve and I met as 10-year-olds on a new Little League team. His dad had died shortly before that. Steve became the team's star pitcher and my best friend, on through junior high, high school, and two years rooming together at the UofI. We didn't see much of each other after that, but about a week before his death, Steve paid me a surprise weekend visit in Urbana. We played some tennis, made the rounds of a few old haunts, and reminisced. I think a lot of us in high school would like to have been Steve. To this day, his death remains a deep reservoir of sadness.

04/25/09 01:45 PM #7    

Lynne Dinzole

Steve was my first South School boyfriend. (Bill Hubbard had the honors at Central School). In one of our early grade school years there was a dance at the Lakewood Village Hall (a place my dad always called "the Hogwrassle"). My memory is that Steve and I danced and he kissed me.

I remember when his dad died. We were in 4th or 5th grade at South and it was so sad--none of us could imagine our dads dying at that time. I remember being awed by the fact of his death and observing how sad Mrs. Hardy was after that.

When I heard about Steve's death I had the same sense of awe. He was a lovely person.

Lynne Dinzole

06/02/09 09:51 AM #8    

Bob Allyn

Steve was highly intelligent, he always dressed sharp and he had a great sense of humor. We were in a lot of classes together and played on the same basketball team for a few years.
One of our most unique experiences centered around the junior prom. I was supposed to take Boo (Mary Beth) Ryan and Steve was supposed to take Pat Moriarity. Things changed the weekend before prom when I showed up at the movies with Pat and Steve was there with Boo. Ooops...we were both at the movies with the other guy's prom date.
We decided to have a group meeting in the high school library the next week and we voted to switch dates for the prom. The only stumbling block seemed to be that Steve and I had already ordered tuxedos that mathced the girls' gowns. Since we were about the same size, Steve and I even switched tuxedo jackets.

07/08/09 01:45 PM #9    

Candy Kirchberg

Steve was actually my first crush in Junior High. I always thought he was so handsome and smart. So when I got the lead opposite him in our 8th grade play, "The Haunted Bookshop" I was thrilled. We had to kiss in the last scene - wow! That was the extent of our romance. Later on, I would talk to Mrs. Hardy about how Steve was doing down in Champaign and the fact that she had talked him into coming back to CL for awhile. I had promised to visit him when he came home and I returned from a short visit to California. He died before I returned. It was devasting. He was an introspective and lovely, gentle soul who is missed by many.

08/09/09 09:18 PM #10    

Bill Reed

It is amazing that someone who lived such a short time and passed oh so many years ago, still brings back memories of friendship for so many.

In my case, Steve and I became best friends in the summer between 5th and 6th grade after my mom had befriended Natalie Hardy. We went together to a church camp that summer. At the camp, Steve met Carolyn Behling, one of those Central School girls! I remember him telling our 6th grade teacher, Miss Massier (sp?) that Carolyn was his first real girl friend. Wanting to be like Steve, I decided I liked Carolyn also. Steve and I would ride our bikes over to College Street and go back and forth in front of Carolyn’s house until she would come out. (Remember Carolyn?)

Throughout that summer and into 6th grade, Steve and I were inseparable. We often played football in his side yard. Sometimes his brother, my dad or Dickie Walker would join us. My dad thought the world of Steve. Picking me up one morning after a sleep over, my dad comments on Steve’s athleticism adding “What a nice kid.”

Although we did not stay close once we got to Junior High, I always thought of him as a lasting friend.

09/16/09 09:32 PM #11    

Susie O'Grady (Johnson)

Memories of Steve bring back fun times of the CLCHS high school days and summers water skiing with Mary Reichert, Jim Bishop, Pam Kordenbrack and Casey Reagan, Paul Fruin and Dave Kirchack. We were alway running around having fun whether we were hanging at someones house or up to no good. Steve loved to play sports and was such a good athlete. He always managed to get good grades and was always so well thought of. I was so sorry to hear of his troubled times and saddened to know his life was cut short. I lost touch once I went off to college, but I know he was missed by many, he was such a good person.

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