Dr. Rodney T. Hard
Theodore, John, Donald, Jerome
Lincoln, Mary, Jane, Judy
Eight of the ten children of Ernest and Anne Hard
Jane Hard married Dan Hayes and wrote down her memories of her older brother for the benefit of the children of Theodore Hard. Jane was born on 09-07-1926 and died on 04-19-2013.
HOW GOD USED THE GREAT DEPRESSION TO PREPARE TED FOR HIS MISSIONARY SERVICE
By: Jane Hayes
Born to upper middle class parents in 1925 to father Ernest Hard, a successful small Connecticut dairy farmer, age 24, and to Anne, a 20 year old vivacious woman who became the mother of 10. Eleven months later, his sister Jane was born, both in the hospital in Torrington, Connecticut. Ted’s dad, Ernest, was raised by his elderly father of 60 years and a housekeeper. Therefore, Ernest gained little experience of the tender loving care from his mother, Jenny, who died when Ernest was only 3 years old! Thus, we can see a trend in love-starved Ernest’s relationship to his own 10 children with Ted as the first-born.
Due to the failing economy in the late 1920’s, Ernest lost the family farm (which is on the National Historic Registry and was show cased during the 1976 Bi Centennial). He then worked in a local ball-bearing factory until 1935 when he moved the family to Avalon Orchards owned by a former diplomat to England.
By this time, Ted was 10 years old and had listened to parental anxieties wrought by mortgage foreclosure, having to move to an upstairs apartment in the lovely Colonial house he had called home for 10 years.
BUT GOD! Avalon Farm was a beautiful spacious place of fruit orchards, barns, sheep, cows, chickens, gardens, mountain vistas, a hiking distance to a state park, pond, and acres of freedom! There was ample work (for pay) for children picking fruit. Ted earned money digging burdock roots which are the bane of orchards.
Ted was the “boss” of younger siblings whose jobs were feeding chickens, carrying inside the wood for the 2 stoves, and cleaning and filling kerosene lamps. When Ted was about 12, Ernest gave him a .22 rifle which Ted used to kill woodchucks whose holes were destructive to orchard work. The farm manager paid a bounty for each killed woodchuck. Only many years later we learned how good eating they were!
Ted was always a bright eager student and brought excellent report cards home. The rest of us who attended Banton Grammar School were challenged by teachers who greeted us, “Well, I hope you are going to be as smart as brother Ted!” He also excelled in piano playing. In his high school years, he came to know Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. So, true to his personality, he sought to convert his siblings who avoided his preaching!
Ted had a few male friends probably because we lived many miles out in the country, had no car, and therefore little opportunity for extra-curricular activities. Roger Beach and Ted came to salvation about the same time and became life-long friends.
Once again, the Great Depression influenced Ted’s personality when we moved as a family from Connecticut to New York State to another orchard! Now we were civilized with indoor plumbing, furnace heat, and electricity! It was time for Ted, the A student and valedictorian, to move just before graduation! BUT GOD! once again intervened and Ted was able to live with grandparents though graduation. Only Mom was able to attend the graduation ceremony to hear his valedictory and the accolades including a full scholarship to Yale and a paid preparatory summer at the Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts.
So, you see, Ted was often short of parental/family participation in the big events of a teenager’s triumphs. Too poor to dress in style, too isolated to take part in many fun activities, and only Mother there to witness his sterling academic achievements, and no peers out on the farm! God was preparing him for hard service. World War II was in progress.
After 1 year at Yale, Ted joined the U.S. Army Air Force as a navigator on a B29 bomber stationed in the Pacific. While training in the Philippine Islands, he observed real privation of body, soul, and spirit amongst the native population. It was then he yearned to become a missionary.
After graduating from Wheaton College and marrying lovely Grace, who also sought a missionary career, the couple, now parents of Sterling and Rodney, journeyed to primitive South Korea and decades of ardent, sacrificial mission work.
Now can you see the preparatory work as Ted ministered to society-rejected lepers, opened and serviced many, many book stores for literature-starved people, taught in seminaries, traveled miles by foot or primitive vehicles to hinterlands to teach, preach and demonstrate God’s love to a needy nation? His own poverty childhood had taught him how to live moderately, to make-do, wear-out and thank God for the privilege to serve HIM and man. Ted devised solar ovens for fuel poor Koreans, shared whatever knowledge he had in whatever need presented. As does his sister Mary, I love him, admire his grit and scholar-poet nature and hope his children can see him as a loving but “distance-keeping” father who was the product of God’s love and plans for a lifetime of service.
I pray my sketchy reminiscences will help my dear nephews and niece to remember with gladness the life of their stalwart, shy servant–father Theodore Hard.
With love and tears,
Navigator on B29s out of Phillipines - Theodore Hard on the right.
Ernest and Anne Hard, parents of Theodore Hard and his sister Jane who wrote this memorial.
Farm house at orchard in Red Hook, New York with patriarch Ernest Hard at the far right.
Reverend Theodore Hard with one of his solar oven made for poor Koreans who could not afford firewood or charcoal with which to cook.
Home in Connecticut from 1925 - 1935
Ted Hard in 1943.
Ted and Grace graduate from Wheaton College, Illinois.
Reverend Theodore Hard preaching the good news of the saving grace of Jesus Christ who died on the cross that we may be saved.
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