Cover photo for Keith Edwin Hardman's Obituary
Keith Edwin Hardman Profile Photo
1954 Keith 2022

Keith Edwin Hardman

October 1, 1954 — October 17, 2022

Arnoldsville

Keith Edwin Hardman, 68, of Arnoldsville, Georgia, passed away peacefully on Monday, October 17, 2022. Son of the late Edwin Guy and Martha Nell Hardman, he was born in Detroit, Michigan, on October 1, 1954. Keith is survived by his wife of 46 years, Colleen; one daughter, Brittany (Brian) Ponder; two grandsons Kristopher Hoelzen and Lucas Ponder and one granddaughter, Caitlyn Ponder; two sisters, Susan (Lanny) Robinson and Joyce (Danny) Sniff; and numerous other extended family members.

There are few callings higher than being called to serve your country. Keith was called from a young age. Whether it was because his father served in World War II or the men of Oglethorpe County, where patriotism runs as deep as the red dirt, Keith answered the call. It was in his DNA.

Keith served his country, family, church, and community. After moving back to Arnoldsville in retirement, he launched into all types of community service, from the Arnoldsville cemetery to the American Legion Post, to the local volunteer fire department. Keith would attend public meetings and look for ways to improve or support the community. He was kind-hearted and would drop what he was doing to help anyone who called and asked for assistance. He did all this with a smile and a cheerful disposition. Keith made and kept lifelong friends. He had that effect on people, his personality stuck to those who knew him.

Keith was a natural leader. In school, he was an academic standout, played trumpet in the band, basketball, ran track, and was involved in other school and community activities. He was an FFA state vice president and played in the National FFA Band. Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, when at the time less than 1% of all scouts made Eagle, Keith showed his commitment and dedication to be the best he could be. He always wanted to be a pilot, and like being an eagle scout, the best pilots in the world were navy aviators.

After high school, Keith attended Georgia Tech, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and was commissioned into the Navy. Newly married to Colleen, Keith went to flight school in Pensacola, Corpus Christi, and Virginia Beach, where they would welcome their daughter into the world.

Brittany was born, and as with any child brought into the world, life for the parents is forever changed. Keith adored and loved Brittany and until his passing, he thought of her daily. Putting his family first, Keith transitioned to civilian life and later retired as a Captain in the Navy Reserve. Brittany graduated high school, went to college, married, and gave Keith and Colleen the gift of a precious granddaughter. It wouldn't be long before Keith and Colleen could think about retirement.

All these were good years, life had a few turns and curves, but Keith's greatest test would begin on Friday, April 13, 2007, when he was diagnosed with leukemia (AML). Given the dismal prognosis, he refused to accept defeat. Instead, he would amaze family and friends with his positive outlook and optimism as he battled numerous health issues and setbacks for the next 15 years. During these 15 years Keith was able to enjoy his role in the American Legion and S.M.A.R.T.  He held numerous positions in both organizations and even became a volunteer firefighter. No form of cancer was going to stop him. Keith was a testimony to his faith to everyone who knew him and will be greatly missed by all.

Anchors away my boy, anchors away. Fly high Grit, we love you!

Funeral services will be held on Friday, October 21, at Lord and Stephens, East Chapel at 10:00 a.m. Interment with full military honors will follow the service at Georgia National Cemetery at 2:30 p.m. The family will receive friends at the funeral home before the service from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society in memory of Keith.  https://givenow.lls.org/KeithHardman

Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, EAST, Athens, GA, is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Keith Edwin Hardman, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, October 21, 2022

8:00 - 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, October 21, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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Graveside Service

Friday, October 21, 2022

Starts at 2:30 pm (Eastern time)

Georgia National Cemetery (Canton, GA)

1080 Scott Hudgens Drive, Canton, GA 30114

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