Wayne T. Hardy, 63 of Orlando, Florida passed away on June 29, 2016 from a surprisingly long fight with Pancreatic Cancer.
Wayne was born in Tampa, Florida on December 1, 1952 to parents J. Thomas Hardy and Betty J. Hardy. His passing was preceded by his mother and longtime business partner. Raised in a southern, military family Wayne called many places home before his father retired in Orlando in 1967. He attended Oak Ridge High School and was among the first graduates of what became the University of Central Florida. He was a founder of the Eta Pi chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity, where he served as President. He and his mother began their first business (Vista Landscaping, Inc.) during his junior year and together they grew the business to service clients all over the southeast. He obtained his Class A General Contractors license and Vista became one of the first to offer a full range of design and construction services to clients. He was recognized by his peers as an industry leader with designation as “Outstanding Young Nurseryman of Florida” and later as “Outstanding Young Nurseryman of the South“. He was elected as the youngest President of the Florida Nurseryman and Growers Association in history. The FNGA was the largest state association in the US at the time.
He was selected to lead the production side of the United States’ first entries in what amounted to the Olympics of the horticultural world. Under his direction, the effort resulted in a Silver medal in Montreal, CA; a Gold medal in Alsmeer, NL; and another gold medal in Liverpool, UK.
Yet amongst all the professional recognition, Wayne’s proudest achievement was persuading Naida Ortega to spend her life with him; and the two children they raised, Matthew Thomas Hardy and Elizabeth (Beth) Ann Moya.
After the sale of his family’s horticultural interests Wayne accepted a position with then Seminole Community College to teach business skills to the outside community. His role continued to grow until he was named Director of the Center for Economic Development. His Department received two international awards for the success of the business incubator clients, the first in Florida to be so honored.
Yet on a personal level, Wayne stayed very active with fishing trips around the world, coaching and umpiring both baseball and softball for more than 16 years. In his most recent years he had become an avid motorcyclist traveling with Naida and friends to all the continental 48 states. His passion for long distance touring and his constant maintence of his bikes were a source of constant amusement to Naida.
Wayne is survived by his immediate family Naida, Matthew (Angela) Hardy, Beth (Rudy) Moya and 3 grandchildren Nolan Hardy, Emelia Hardy and Leah Moya. He is also survived by his father, J. Thomas Hardy, sister, Pamela J. Hardy and his uncle Woodrow F. Nelson.
Wayne wants to thank the people of First Baptist Church Orlando and his Life Group for all the kindness and prayer that helped sustain him far beyond what the medical profession predicted.
Service Details: Memorial Service- Friday, July 8, 2016, 11 AM, Henry Chapel at First Baptist Church of Orlando. In leu of flowers donations may be made to the Children’s Music & Worship ministry at First Baptist Orlando. www.firstorlando.com/give Donors should choose the “other” option and type in the ministry.