Leona Beulah Hardesty, a joyful 100 years old, died peacefully in her sleep on Friday, July 22, 2016 at English Meadows Elks National Home Campus in Bedford, Virginia. She was born on Feb. 10, 1916 in Buckingham, Virginia, the daughter of Reuben H. and Matilda Wharam. Leona was preceded in death by her three husbands. She and her first husband, William Steele McGhee, Jr. were married for 40 years and had one child. She later married Joseph Connelly. Later in life she met and married Bernard Hardesty and they shared many happy years together until his death. At a time when few women were welcomed into the business world, Leona was an active member of the business community. She persuaded Charlie Green, owner of Greenâ€™s Drugstore in Bedford, to open a perfume and cosmetics counter, which she managed for him. She later also worked as a sales representative at Peopleâ€™s Furniture. She was a member of Main Street United Methodist Church; and the Friendship Sunday School Class for over fifty years; a charter member of Belmont Garden Club and an avid gardener at her home on Ashland Ave; a member of Liberty Chapter #109 of the Eastern Star; and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge #321 in Lynchburg, Friends of the Bedford Museum to which she donated her husband Bill McGheeâ€™s VMI uniform for display, and a proud member of the Bedford Business and professional organizations. She is survived by her daughter, Rose Mary Comer and her husband, Nelson Glenn of Moneta; her beloved grandson, William Comer of Lynchburg; sister, Marjorie McGhee Dunn of Lynchburg; who remained one of her closest friends for Leonaâ€™s whole life; sister, Rachel W. Cottrell; her stepdaughter, Martha Hardesty of Annapolis, MD; and generations of other relatives. A graveside service was held at Oakwood Cemetery in Bedford at 10 AM on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 conducted by the Rev. Richard Ecklund. Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Bedford is assisting the family. To send condolences, please visit www.tharpfuneralhome.com.
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Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory
320 North Bridge Street
Bedford, VA 24523-1928
Published in Bedford Bulletin from July 27 to July 28, 2016