James D. Hardee, Jr. ’79

James D. Hardee, Jr. ’79 died on August 30, 2023, in Bradenton, Florida.

(The following was provided by the Heath Funeral Chapel & Crematory on September 1, 2023:)

James D. Hardee, Jr. ‘1979

James Dunwoody Hardee, Jr. (Jim) passed away August 30, 2023, after a long illness. He was born in Illinois at Evanston Hospital to Marian (Petie) née Petersen of Kenilworth, IL, and James Dunwoody Hardee, Sr. (Jim) of Toledo, OH. Jim, Jr. grew up attending Winnetka, IL, schools: Crow Island, Skokie, and New Trier East High School (NTE) where he played on the championship varsity football team and sang in the boys’ ensemble. Jim then attended Deerfield Academy for a year before attending Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Jim had an interest in political science and studied for a semester at American University in Washington, DC. Back at Bowdoin his senior paper was on prison guard reform, which was published locally after his graduation. He graduated with high honors in sociology (Class of 1979).

Returning to Illinois after graduating from Bowdoin College, Jim received his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. After working at Swiss Bank, Jim became an entrepreneur. He started a pet insurance business, and later Hardee Enterprises, selling security cameras and mirrors to companies nationally.
In December 1996, Jim married Helen Ahern, and in December 1997, they had their daughter, Heather, his pride and joy. Heather became the third generation of the family to graduate from New Trier High School. Like Jim, Heather attended American University. After her fall semester in 2019 studying Brexit and international government at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, Jim, and Heather took a memorable trip together exploring the country and the family’s Scottish heritage.

Jim’s hobbies included his love of music, fishing, and travel. After college, Dr. William Peterman invited him to join the Apollo Chorus of Chicago where he sang for over twenty years, especially enjoying the Christmas concerts of Handel’s “Messiah”. Many of his vacations included traveling to lakes and oceans where he could fish, including annual family sports fishing trips to Key West. He travelled to Japan and Costa Rica on Insight Trips with Opportunity International, later joining the board. He was a member of the Wilmette Rotary Club, serving as president from 2015 to 2016 before retiring to Florida.
Moving to Bradenton, FL, in 2019, Jim barely got settled when COVID hit. Due to several health challenges during the pandemic, he feared going out to get the medical care that he needed. After a long illness, Jim went to be with his Lord and Redeemer on the morning of the Super Blue Moon — a fitting send-off.

Jim was predeceased by his parents and leaves behind his daughter, Heather Hardee, his sisters, Ruth Hardee Kovacs and Mary Hardee Tabb (Waller), nieces, a nephew, and cousins

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