David Hardy passed away suddenly Friday, Jan. 14, 2011 at the age of 68. He was born in Plainfield, NJ and was a graduate of Plainfield High School, and Fairleigh Dickinson University. His newspaper career began as a sportswriter for the Courier News in Plainfield where he gained national recognition for his eyewitness account of the Plainfield riots and his testimony years later before the National Advisor Commission on Civil Disorders (also known as the Kerner Commission). In September 1967, he went to work at the New York Daily News as a general assignment reporter and then as a Personal Executive, returning to the News in August 1972. During his second tenure with the Daily News, Hardy covered a wide range of issues, with a primary focus on investigative reporting and politics where he developed a reputation for exposing political corruption in Hudson County, NJ, and its county seat in Jersey City. Hardy's reporting on Hudson County governmental and political affairs earned him numerous awards and commendations. In 1986 Hardy was honored with the United Press International Investigative Reporting Award for New York State for a series of articles on convicted ex-New Jersey State senator David Friedland, who while working as a federal informant faked his death in the Bahamas to avoid jail and became the subject of an international manhunt by the FBI for more than two years. In 1986 David Hardy was nominated by Daily News for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting, and in 1987 the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honored Hardy for excellence in feature writing. Hardy had also been a union activist and was at the forefront of the struggle against racial discrimination in the newspaper industry and ultimately found himself cast as the lead plaintiff in a successful seven-year legal battle in New York Federal District Court over employment discrimination at the Daily News during the 1980s. In 1989 the Urban League of Hudson County presented Hardy with its Whitney M. Young Award, citing his efforts "in pursuit of equality for all." Hardy's battles against racism in the newspaper industry have been spotlighted in the book "Volunteer Slavery" by Jill Nelson and in a volume titled "Within the Veil" by NYU journalism professor Pamela Newkirk. In recent years David Hardy worked as a part-time writer at Dow Jones and Dorf Feature Service, which is part of the Star Ledger newspaper based in Newark, NJ and was at the time of his death, at work on a book tentatively titled "The Wheels of Providence", which chronicle the interlocking dramas of his struggles against racism while working diligently to expose the injustice to the wrongfully accused ex Mayor of Weehawken while pursuing his flamboyant accuser, the fugitive David Friedland.
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David Hardy is predeceased by brother, John Hardy and father, John Hardy Sr., and survived by his mother, Abigail Hardy; children, David Hardy Jr. and Daly Huntly; sisters, Jaqueline Casey and Martha Cisson; five grandchildren, four nieces, two nephews and a host of loving relative and friends.
Funeral Thursday 11am Rose of Sharon Community Church 825 W. 7th St. Plainfield. Viewing 9-11am Thursday at the church. In lieu of flowers, please make Donations to: David Walter Hardy Scholarship Fund P.O. Box 173, Plainfield, NJ 07060. Condolences can be submitted to www.judkinscolonialhome.com. Arrangements by Judkins Colonial Home.
Published in Courier News on Jan. 18, 2011