Dr. William Thomas Hardaker, Jr.
Dr. William Thomas Hardaker, Jr., 73, of Durham, died suddenly at his home on Dec. 4, 2015.
Dr. Hardaker received a BA degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963, where he was an active member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). In addition, he was a four-year starter/letterman on the football team, serving as its captain his senior year.
As an aviator in the United States Marine Corps, he served in the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA-323). He flew over 285 combat missions in Vietnam and Laos.
He attended Duke University School of Medicine from 1969 to 1973 and completed his orthopaedic residency training at Duke in 1979. After finishing residency, Dr. Hardaker became a member of the Duke orthopaedic faculty where his diverse clinical/teaching interests included pediatric orthopaedics/scoliosis surgery, spine trauma and sports medicine. One of his most significant contributions was his role as the Duke Orthopaedic Resident Program Director. In this capacity, he recruited and trained more than 250 orthopaedic residents. His unwavering dedication to the residency program earned him the endearing nickname "The Rock."
Dr. Hardaker always made time to be active in the community, serving as team physician for a wide variety of college sports, including Duke football, lacrosse and basketball. In addition to serving as an attending orthopaedic surgeon for the American Dance Festival, he also acted as team physician for two local high school football teams: the Southern Spartans and, most recently, the Hillside Hornets.
Dr. Hardaker was an active participant in Pediatric Outreach Clinics throughout North Carolina, including in Lumberton (Robeson County), Carteret, Sampson and Columbus counties. For his service, he was twice named Robeson County Physician of the Year.
Surviving are his mother, Gale Angas Hardaker of Washington, DC; Roberta "Bobbie" Hardaker, his wife of 48 years; his three children: Tracy Rankin of Nashville, TN, Ryan LaForce of Westport, CT and Mack Hardaker of Philadelphia, PA; his sister, Elizabeth Marsh, of Morristown, NJ; and his five grandchildren: Jack Rankin, Eleanor Rankin, Abigail Rankin, Sydney LaForce and Holden LaForce.
A visitation will be held at Howerton & Bryan Funeral home on Friday, December 11, from 4 to 6 p.m. and the memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, December 12, at the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Durham. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the William T. Hardaker, Jr. Residents' Fellowship Fund, c/o Piedmont Orthopedic Society, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3706, Durham, N.C. 27710.
The Hardaker family is under the care of Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home. Online condolences can be made at www.howertonbryan.com