Gene Hardinger died peacefully in his sleep at his Stilwell KS home Christmas Eve. He is now with the Lord he loved and served.
Kermit Eugene “Gene” Hardinger was born in Kansas City, KS, the only child of Kermit Waldo Hardinger and Marjorie Davis Hardinger. After the death of his mother due to illness, he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Raymond and Margaret Davis in Northeast KCMO and in his teens they moved to a farm in Ottawa, KS. He graduated from Ottawa High School and then attended Ottawa University, graduating with a BS in Physics. He also became an accomplished vocalist (baritone) and clarinetist.
Gene left Ottawa for Washington DC to earn a Master’s Degree. As plans sometimes do, he never finished the Master’s degree. He met the love of his life, Doris Taylor (originally from Kentucky), in a young adult group at his church in Washington DC and they were married May 10, 1959. He found an electrical engineering job with Bendix back in Kansas City, buying a small house and settling in the soon to be city of Overland Park KS. He worked at Bendix (now Honeywell), gaining his Professional Engineering certification, from 1959 until 1992, when he retired. He and his family moved to a larger house in Overland Park in 1962 and resided there until 1973 when they relocated to the house he architected and had built in Stilwell, KS on 5 acres. That house saw: 4 kids graduate from Blue Valley High School (there was only one then); a foreign exchange student from Denmark (Rikke Larson Stoeckel) so the youngest daughter was not alone her senior year; 16 grandchildren visiting frequently (plus Rikke’s 2 children who also visited) and thoroughly enjoying an in-ground swimming pool Grandpa Gene installed; and now 13 great grandchildren.
Gene loved God and dedicated his time and talent to church, Nall Avenue Baptist Church while living in Overland Park and Stilwell Baptist Church after moving to Stilwell. That time and talent included singing solos and special music, being in the church choir, teaching, collecting for the food bank (along with Doris), serving as a deacon, managing church finances and any other serving he could do.
Gene loved his family, spending time raising his children, supporting their extracurricular activities, introducing them to scouting, following KC sports teams, and traveling across the US to show it to them. As his children grew, holidays, birthdays and some vacations were always about visiting or hosting family. Once his children had their own families, he liked to visit them frequently and attend important events such as grandchildren’s graduations. The event he enjoyed most was his 80th birthday party in Heritage Park that had family and friends from across the country in attendance.
Gene had many hobbies he enjoyed. He never stopped performing music (church, parades, concerts, musicals), a talent he could share with others. He loved to play bridge, a game he taught his children. He enjoyed photography, taking 35mm slides and having slide show nights. He loved boating, water skiing and tent camping, including one tent that held the whole family and their gear. He liked woodworking, which included building furniture, shelving, a model train table, and a horse barn. He was always involved with Ottawa University and the Alumni Association, attending all the alumni events he could. After retirement, travel with Doris increased to include all 50 states, Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean. He and Doris also took up Square Dancing, which kept him involved with music.
Finally, he especially enjoyed working on the small farm he had created. He enjoyed planting and tending his vegetable garden, taking care of horses, landscaping, having the pool ready for anyone to come and swim, maintaining and using his farm equipment and caring for the many dogs and cats over the years.
Gene is survived by his wife of 63 years, Doris Jean Taylor Hardinger; two siblings, his brother Kevin Hardinger and Mary Lou of Overland Park KS, and his sister Sarah Sue Hardinger of Huntersville NC; his 4 children Kerry (and Tami) Hardinger of Milford NH, Kelly (and Silvana) Hardinger of Stilwell KS, Kent (and Betty) Hardinger of Lititz PA, and Laurie (and Kerry) Ware of Martinez CA; his 16 grandchildren Heather, Ashley, Amanda, Aimee, Ian, Jared, Cole, Kendal, Alyssa, Madeline, Lillian, Samantha, Alexandra, Kassandra, Karson and Konnor; and his 13 great grandchildren.
"Thank you to Interim Home Care and Hospice and AdventHealth South Hospital for providing support and comfort for Gene during his final days on earth"
In lieu of flowers, a financial to gift to either/both Ottawa University - Raymond and Margaret Davis Scholarship Fund or Stilwell Baptist Church is appreciated.