August 2020 Neighbor of the Month: Leaving a Living Legacy
All of us at Center For Neighborhoods were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mary Hardesty on August 20, 2020. Mary, a longtime friend of CFN, was a Neighborhood Institute graduate, a regular Neighborhood Summit participant, and a faithful donor and volunteer. We will miss her greatly.
We spoke with Mary’s youngest daughter, Angela Hardesty, and her friend and fellow German-Paristown Neighborhood Association board member, Steve Magre, to learn more about our August 2020 Neighbor of the Month, Mary Hardesty.
Mary Hardesty moved to Louisville in 1986 when she joined the Family Health Centers as a Family Practitioner. She would later go on to serve as Assistant Medical Director at the Family Health Centers until she retired after 25 years of service.
According to Mary’s youngest daughter, Angela Hardesy, Mary moved to Germantown in 1995 or 1996. She joined the German-Paristown Neighborhood Association (GNPA) board in June of 2015.
“If she saw something that needed to happen in the neighborhood, she would find a way to make it happen,” Angela says. “Or she would fix it herself!” says Steve Magre, GNPA Treasurer.
Mary, who suffered from extreme rheumatoid arthritis, used a motorized wheelchair. She underwent five or six hip surgeries and battled cancer for 16 years.
“If she went into a building that didn’t have a [wheelchair] ramp, she got them in touch with someone who could get them one,” Angela says, citing the ramp at Four Pegs as one of her mother’s legacies.
“She did the same for GPNA,” Steve says. “Our building is accessible to everyone because of Mary.”
In fact, Mary’s Neighborhood Institute project was to ensure that ramps were installed in every building in Germantown. She continually worked with Center For Neighborhoods and every business in Germantown to keep everyone connected, spending much of last year working with the five-neighborhood coalition across the all neighborhoods in the Germantown area
Mary was deeply involved in several of GNPA’s projects. She managed the two raised garden beds at the German-Paristown Neighborhood Center, represented GPNA at the District Four Block Watch meetings with her friend and fellow board member Kathleen Davis, and was part of the board participation days at Love the Hungry.
In addition, Mary was always available to assist other board members with making connections or placing calls. “If you needed her,” Steve says, “you could call her.”
Mary’s passion for building and deepening community extended beyond the boundaries of her own neighborhood. According to Jessica Brown, CFN’s Planning Director, “She would always be the first one to come out to an event and connect with other neighbors from other neighborhoods.”
“I’ve never seen a more energetic person whose energy through her mindset could be targeted so specifically,” Steve says. “For a person to have that much energy and be that ill for years--it’s just remarkable.”
“She’s leaving a living legacy,” he says. “Our tribute to her is how we live our lives.”
Click here to read Mary Hardesty’s obituary and to find information about her visitation on August 27 and her funeral Mass on August 28.
GPNA plans to name the two raised garden beds after Mary. They will have a ceremony at a later time. Watch their Facebook page for updates.