It was said at the passing of Bill Hardie’s grandmother in 1918, that “She had fought the good fight; she had finished her course; she had kept the faith; she is at rest.” The same can be said of her grandson, William David Hardie, Jr., born Dec. 20, 1921 at the ranch his Scottish grandfather homesteaded in 1883 at the head of Trailfork in southern Gilliam County. Bill died Friday, March 26, 2021 at the Oregon Veterans Home in The Dalles at the age of 99.
He was the son of William D. ‘Will’ Hardie and Georgia Smith Hardie, whose parents were life-long natives of the area. Bill’s childhood and young adult life in the wilds of Trailfork included many pets, including deer, rattlesnakes and dogs. He attended the Badger school east of Mayville for the first five years of his schooling, and finished grade school at the Trailfork School. He graduated from Condon High School in 1939.
Bill worked on area farms and at Kinzua Pine Mills until attending junior college at Modesto, Calif. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army; graduated from parachute school in Georgia in 1944; then overseas, joined the 377th Parachute Field Artillery, ‘A’ Battery, 502nd Parachute Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, serving in the World War II Allied invasions of Holland at Bastogne and through Germany and Austria, earning the rank of First Lieutenant, along with accolades and admiration for his service.
Following his honorable discharge from the Army, he married Donna Klint of Hilmar, Calif. in 1946, and they returned to Condon and worked on his parents’ ranches in Lost Valley and Trailfork. In 1947, with his uncle and aunt, John and Irene Hardie, they went to the Philippines where they operated a dairy for the next two years before returning to the family ranch.
Bill and Donna raised four children on the Trailfork ranch where they farmed for the next three decades, gradually adding to the long-time family holdings acreages previously owned by the Barker, Russell, Maddock and other families. Donna died in 1973 from complications of a stroke.
Bill continued the farming and cattle production operation and in late 1974 married Anne D’Agostine. They continued to live at the ranch until late 1980 when they built a home in Condon and moved to town.
Bill, wanting to serve in public office, was elected as a Gilliam County Commissioner in 1974, and in December 1983 was appointed Gilliam County Judge. After successfully serving in county government for 12 years, he resigned as judge in 1987 when the ranch came back into his possession and he resumed an active role in its operation until 2010.
In 1985, Bill became involved with the 101st Airborne Division Association and traveled to Europe on several occasions to attend reunions with Army buddies and war-time friends. Bill and Anne enjoyed other world-wide traveling as well.
Bill’s jovial spirit and keen sense of humor were well-known and appreciated by those with whom he served on a variety of boards and commissions throughout the community and region. He was a member of the 101st Airborne Division Association, the Portland Parachute Club, Oregon Wheat League, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, a 67-year charter member of Condon Elks Lodge No. 1869, Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge No. 95, The Shriners, and was a long-time board member of the Condon School District and the Education Service District.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Donna and wife Anne, his daughter Nancy, and his brother Earl.
He is survived by his daughter Suzanne and Robbie Hyde, daughter Georgia and Jim VanWinkle, son John Hardie; grandchildren, Jessica and Patrick Ginn, Scot and Tasha VanWinkle, and Brad Hardie; and seven great-grandchildren.
A graveside service with military honors will be held 11 a.m. Monday, April 12, at the Condon Cemetery.
Memorial contributions, for those who wish, may be made to the Gilliam County Historical Society, P.O. Box 377, Condon, OR 97823; Oregon Veterans Home, 700 Veterans Drive, The Dalles, OR 97058; or Summit Springs Village, P.O. Box 687, Condon, OR 97823.
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