Kenneth R. Harding

Obituary
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Services and "Celebration of Life" for the Hon. Kenneth R. Harding, 93, of Ormond Beach, who passed away after a brief illness on Wed-nesday, October, 3, 2007 will be at 11 a.m. Sunday, October 7, 2007 in the chapel of Haigh-Black Funeral Home, 167 Vining Court, Ormond Beach, with his son, Kenneth R. Harding Jr. of Honolulu, Hawaii, officiating. A reception will follow at Oceanside Country Club. His family will receive friends from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. today (Saturday, October 6), at the funeral home. Mr. Harding, a retired officer of the U.S. House of Representatives, served as the nation's 32nd House Sergeant-at-Arms in Washington, D.C., from October 1, 1972 to February 29, 1980, concluding a long career on Capitol Hill before retiring to Ormond Beach, Florida, in 1980 with his first wife, Jane Wedderburn Harding. Mr. Harding, known affectionately as "Pops" to his children and grandchildren, was born March 28, 1914 to Victor Hunt Harding and Edith Falk Harding, in Medina, New York. He graduated from the George Washington University Law School in 1937 and married Jane in 1938. He began work as a national bank examiner in San Francisco during the same year. Mr. Harding served three years in the U.S. Navy and ten years in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and retired as a full Colonel. His father, a political science professor at Stanford University, was the Northern California campaign manager for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and subsequently worked in Washington D.C. after Roosevelt was elected in 1932. After World War II, Mr. Harding joined his father in Washington in 1946 to work in the office of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, headed by the Hon. Michael J. Kirwan of Ohio. In 1954, Kenneth R. Harding was elected as the Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the speakership of the Hon. Sam Rayburn of Texas. He served in that capacity for 18 years, under four Speakers, and also served as Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms for the U.S. House of Representatives. He was later elected to serve as Sergeant-at-Arms for the U.S. House of Representatives until his retirement in 1980. As Sergeant-at-Arms, it was his duty to protect and uphold the decorum of the House of Representatives, and to greet the President and all dignitaries upon their arrival at the U.S. Capitol Building, and to escort them into the House Chamber and stay with them throughout their visit, and also to help officiate at Inaugural ceremonies, State of the Union addresses and State funerals for Members of Congress and other dignitaries. He was also responsible for overseeing the maintenance and security of all physical property on the House side of the U.S. Capitol, including its main Chamber, Congressional office buildings, and grounds, as well as co-chief of the Capitol Police force, Congressional paymaster and Congress' chief of protocol. After his retirement, Mr. Harding was a member of the Unity Church of Daytona Beach and greatly enjoyed family, friends, golf, football, and travel with his new wife, Ruth. He is survived by his devoted wife, Ruth Campbell Harding; four sons, Kenneth R. Jr. (Kitty), Honolulu, HI; Richard H. (Patty), Walnut Creek, CA; Bruce A. of New York, N.Y.; and Dr. Victor H. (Dr. Deborah Harding) Windemere, FL; ten grandchildren, John, Robert (Sarah), Zay (Laura); Sarah Traverso (Matt Traverso); Kevin (Renee), Brian (Malika), Courtney Kleiber; Dr. Kelli Harding (Padraic Casey); and David, Elizabeth, Christopher, Michael, Charles, and Alexander; and eight great-grandchildren, Rita, Yolanda, Erma, Ericka, Eric, Thair, Jelan, and Nyako Dembe. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Jane Wedderburn Harding. Memorial donations may be made in his name to The Salvation Army, 1555 LPGA Blvd., Daytona Beach FL 32117. Friends may share online condolences at www.Haigh-Black.com
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Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Oct. 6, 2007