Bruce Harding

Obituary
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Bruce Harding Grangerville - Bruce Harding, 89, of Grangerville, New York, died peacefully on August 3, 2013, at the Saratoga Hospital after a brief illness, surrounded by his loving and devoted family. Born in Brockton, Massachusetts on August 3, 1923 to Elmer and Ruth Bryant Harding and husband of Mary Huber of Watertown, Wisconsin, he proposed to her at the Robert Flaherty Documentary Film Seminar. She accepted on the spot. Bruce Harding said he was “… taken over by photography at the age of 13.” When he was 16, he started working as a stringer for a local newspaper which marked the start of his professional career as a photographer. At 19 during World War Two, he served as a photographer with the United States Army Ninth Air Forces unit. He and his camera landed as part of the Normandy Invasion of France with the Allied Forces. His commanding officer told him his camera equipment was more important than he was to the success of the invasion. Both survived to see Paris liberated on August 25, 1944. “The best party I ever had,” said Harding. He was a true witness to history. When the war in Europe ended in 1945, Harding was stationed at an air base in Stuttgart, Germany. For his contribution to the liberation of France, the people of Normandy presented him a medal and in 2002, the French government awarded him a “Diploma of Gratitude” from the French people for his service at the Normandy invasion of D-Day which was the beginning of the liberation of France from Nazi control. After the war, Harding served as a photographer for the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He completed two degrees between 1948 to 1955, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Motion Pictures from Boston University and an M.S. in Communication Arts. Aside from his work as a photographer, Harding was a documentary filmmaker, producing and directing educational films and television programs. After earning his degrees, he became a faculty member for the Harvard Business School where he developed case materials for teaching business administration and worked in scientific and technical photography at MIT. For two years, he lived and worked in India for the Ford Foundation where he provided advanced training to government officials to assist them in their transition to independence from British rule. He returned to work as a Research Associate for NASA and the U.S. Air Force devoted to work in preparation for Mars landings. His next assignment was with the National Council of Churches [NCC] in 1966. His widow, Mary Huber, said Harding traveled to developing countries “…documenting the challenges of nations emerging from poverty.” As a result of his productions, the NCC was able to raise funds for their work. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY and Fairfield University in Connecticut between 1970 and 1985. One of Harding's treasured associations was with International Film Seminars which coordinates the Robert Flaherty Film Seminars which began in the 1950s to the present. Named in honor of the “father” of documentary film, Robert Flaherty, Harding served on the board for 30 years. He received a National Endowment for the Arts “Grant in Oral History Research” and spent a year interviewing and photographing those in the U.S. and abroad who knew Robert Flaherty, who directed Nanook of the North, Man of Aran and Louisiana Story among many films. The interviews are housed in the Oral History Collection at Columbia University as primary research materials. Harding participated in many juried shows and had numerous solo exhibitions of his work, including Harvard University; the Johnson Museum at Cornell University; the Kern Galleries at Pennsylvania State University; the Schenectady Museum and Planetarium; a traveling exhibit for the U.S. Information Agency in India; the Rensselaerville Institute in Rensselaerville, NY; locally at Crandall Public Library of Glens Falls, Ballet Regent School, Borders Books and Sperry's in Saratoga Springs, and the Clifton Park-Half Moon Public Library. Currently his work is on exhibition at Eli's Broad Street Breakfast in Schuylerville, NY. He served on the Board of the Saratoga County Arts Council [SCAC] for six years and as Vice President for Outreach, the Executive committee and Secretary. In June 2003, the Saratoga County Arts Council awarded Bruce its Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his professional accomplishments and contributions to the community. At the time of his award, Dee Sarno, SCAC's then Executive Director said of Harding: “The Arts Council was extremely fortunate to have Bruce serve on the Arts Council Board of Directors for six years. His extensive knowledge and life experiences enhanced the Arts Council's mission and improved programs in the early years.” For many years he served on the Board of the Friends of the Saratoga Springs Public Library. Lawrence White, writing for “Arts Space” in the summer 2008 issue of Saratoga Living said of Harding, “…the greatest thing you can say about any artist is that he or she inspires people by stimulating their imagination. Harding creates sheer magic with his artwork, and he lifts the human spirit to new heights.” Survivors include his wife of 33 years, Mary Huber; three sons and two daughters from a previous marriage: Brian Harding and his wife Ellen of Weare, NH; Jeffrey Harding and his wife KimKristin of Brookfield, CT; Jonathan Harding of Cheshire, CT; Holly Harding of Tequesta, FL and Pamela Picheco and her husband Robert of New Milford, CT; 12 grandchildren and many great grand children. Burial with military honors will be at noon on Monday, September 16, 2013 at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery. Contributions in Bruce's honor may be made to the St. Labre Indian School, Ashland, MT, 59004. Online remembrances may be

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Funeral Home
William J. Burke & Sons - Saratoga Springs
628 North Broadway  Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
(518) 584-5373
Funeral Home Details
Published in The Saratogian on Aug. 10, 2013
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