C. HOWARD HARDESTY JR.

Obituary
  • "With deep condolences for the family of a gentlemen"
    - john Grosso


C. HOWARD HARDESTY JR.of Vero Beach, Florida, died peacefully at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach on Sunday, April 27, following a stroke. Howard was born and grew up in Fairmont, W.Va., the son of C. Howard Hardesty and Elizabeth Miller Hardesty, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration from Duke University in 1943. After serving as a naval officer in World War II, he returned to the West Virginia University College of Law in 1946, where he graduated in 1949. Upon graduation, he co- founded Furbee & Hardesty, Attorneys, in Fairmont, where he remained until 1963. From 1961- 62, he served as West Virginia State Tax Commissioner and reorganized the income-tax division of the State Tax Department. Howard joined Consolidation Coal Company as general counsel in 1963. From 1968-72, he served as senior vice president, then executive vice president and director of the parent company, Continental Oil Company ("CONOCO"). He was named president of the Eastern Hemisphere Petroleum division in 1974, and in 1975 became vice chairman of the company. He traveled throughout the United States and the world as a spokesperson for the energy industry. In 1978, he resumed law practice as a partner in the firm, Rose Schmidt, Dixon, Hasley, Whyte & Hardesty. In addition to his legal expertise, he had extensive background in the area of corporate reorganizations, mergers, and acquisitions. From 1979-1981, he served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Commonwealth Oil Refining Company. He took over the position while the company was in bankruptcy, restructured its operations, and developed a reorganization plan permitting the company's emergence from bankruptcy. In 1985, he became president and chief executive officer of Purolator Courier Corporation to bring the company out of bankruptcy. For 22 months, he significantly improved the profitability of the company through selective acquisitions and divestitures, ultimately completing its profitable sale. Beginning in 1985, Howard also became associated with the Washington law firm, Andrews & Kurth and became a partner in 1987. He continued to practice law until the mid-90s. He was a member of the American Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association, and West Virginia Bar Association. He served on the Advisory Board of Concord Partners and was a Trustee Emeritus of Duke University, retired director of NCR Corporation, and a retired director of Consolidated Natural Gas Corporation. He received an Honorary Doctor of Energy Science degree from Salem College in 1977 and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Alderson-Broaddus College in 1987. Howard also served for many years as a director and chair of the West Virginia University Foundation Board. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Doris Wilson Hardesty. They first came to Vero Beach in 1979 and had a vacation home at Johns Island. They moved to Oak Harbor permanently in the 1990s. Howard was a warm and generous man who was extremely active in community programs and philanthropy. He made major contributions to the Duke Marine Lab and established a research fellowship for students at West Virginia University College of Law. In Vero Beach, he was active in "Winners Walk Tall," a character-building program for elementary-school children, and also served as chair of the Oak Harbor Leadership Committee of the Indian River Medical Center, where he was also instrumental in developing a relationship with Duke Medicine. He is survived by his cherished and longtime companion, Jorie Butler Kent, of Palm Beach, FL; his devoted family, including a daughter, Sarah Hardesty Bray, and son-in-law, William P. Bray, of Washington, DC; a son, Charles Howard Hardesty, III, and daughter-in-law, Mary Hardesty of Indio, CA; and five grandchildren, including Elizabeth Hardesty Bray, of Washington, DC; Charles Vincent Hardesty and Chlaudine Marybeth Hardesty of Indio, CA; and Maria Maya Hardesty and Cassiopia Chandi Hardesty of Portland Oregon; as well his adored schnauzer, Saint. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Howard's honor to Friends of Conservation, 700 Commerce Dr., Suite 500, Oak Brook, IL 60523 or online at http://www.friendsofconservati on.org/donate/ and to Indian River Medical Center Foundation, 1000 36th St., Vero Beach, FL 32960 or https://www.irhf.org/give/tribut e-gifts Arrangements are by Strunk Funeral Home and Crematory, Vero Beach. A guest book is available at www.strunkfuneralhome.com.

Published in the TC Palm on May 6, 2014
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