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Harvue Farms co-founder Jack Hardesty begins everlasting life

John D. Hardesty

BERRYVILLE, Va. -- John “Jack” D. Hardesty, the 82- year old patriarch of the Hardesty family, Harvue Farms, Berryville, Va., has left his earthly life to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Virginia’s dairy community has lost one of their finest. Nationally, too, the ever-compassionate, kind and humble Southern gentleman leaves a legacy that has been celebrated long before his passing. He was the World Dairy Expo’s Dairyman of the Year in 1992, to highlight just one of the many honors he received.

Jack, as he was respectfully and affectionally known by countless fellow dairymen and distinguished industry leaders, passed away on Tuesday, April 15, in the Blue Ridge Hospice Inpatient Care Center, Winchester, Virginia. A victim of cancer, he had been in failing health for much of the past year. Despite those circumstances, he was at the Harvue Select Sale on March 31, happy to see many of his friends. He lifted himself out of his wheelchair repeatedly, insisting on standing and greeting folks properly, including a firm handshake. His strong faith showed through in his eyes, affirmed by words of assurance.

Jack co-founded Harvue Farms with his father, John, in 1949. An interest in Registered Holsteins that displayed sound type, sustained production and longevity fueled excitement and generations of success for cow families as well as people. Sons and grandsons followed in his footsteps, thankful for the foundations that were laid for them. Jack was pleased to know that the younger family members who called him “Gramps” are interested in continuing the farm that has always meant so much to him. He got to witness the start of construction on new facilities.

Jack was a member of many agriculture organizations which include past president of Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative.; past president of Virginia Holstein Association; National Holstein Association; Virginia Agribusiness Council; past president of Mid-Atlantic Milk Marketing Association; past president of Virginia State Dairymen’s Association; Atlantic Rural Exposition, Inc.; Pennmarva Dairyman’s Federation; Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumers Services serving under Governors Baliles and Wilder; Virginia Purebred Dairy Cattle Association; Virginia Farm Bureau and Clarke-Frederick DHIA.

He was a member of Clarke County Board of Supervisors for 30 years and serving as Chairman for 16 of those years; Clarke County Campaign for Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr. serving as Chairman for 6 years; Local Government Advisory Council Member, Governors Godwin, Dalton and Robb; original member of Lord Fairfax Planning District Commission and was a member for 10 years serving as Chairman for 2 years; Northern Virginia Regional 4-H Center, Clarke County fundraising Chairman; past president of Clarke County
Ruritan Club and member for 45 years; Clarke County Democratic Committee and served 43 years on the Board of Directors for the Bank of Clarke County serving as Chairman for 18 of those years.

In 1955 Jack was named the Outstanding Young Farmer for the Northern District and State of Virginia; 1963 Jaycee Distinguished Service Award; 1980 Outstanding Cooperator for Lord Fairfax Soil & Water Conservation District; 1985 Virginia Dairy Industry Achievement Award Winner; 1986 Virginia Distinguished Dairyman; 1987 Clarke County Citizen of the Year; 1992 World Dairy Expo Dairyman of the Year and 2014 Top of Virginia Regional Chamber, Citizen of the Year.

Born on January 14, 1932, in Winchester, Virginia, Jack was the son of the late John O. Hardesty and Mary Ridgeway Hardesty. He married Carter Conley Hardesty on October 3, 1953 in White Post, Virginia. Mrs. Hardesty died October 14, 2003. Surviving are their two sons, John D. “Johnny” Hardesty, Jr. and his wife, Irene, and David M. Hardesty and his wife, Debra; six grandchildren, John Douglas Hardesty III and his fiancée, Emily Levi; Catherine Elizabeth Hardesty, Daniel Meade Hardesty and his wife, Mary; Matthew Clayton Hardesty and his fiancée, Ashley Elgin; Leslie Hardesty Kerr and her husband, Cody and David Meade Hardesty, Jr.; two step-grandchildren, Soli Perez and Catalina Perez; two great-grandchildren, Henry Lee Hardesty and Heidi Carter Hardesty; best friend and companion, Daisy McDonald; sister, Ann Hudson and her husband, Louis, and a sister-in-law, Fritzie Conley Carper.

The family will receive friends from 2 - 4 p.m. and 6 - 9 p.m. on Mon., April 21, at Enders & Shirley Funeral Home, Berryville. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 22, at Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church, Berryville. Burial will be private. Memorial contributions may be made to Burnt Factory United Methodist Church, Building Fund, P.O. Box 399, Stephenson, VA 22656.