John Spencer Hardy, a highly decorated Air Force lieutenant general who planned U.S. air offensives in the European Theater during World War II, died Tuesday.
He was 98 years old.
Born in Logansport, Hardy pursued his dream of a better life through serving his country in the military, said his son, George Hardy.
“Through his years in the military, he found a way to be the American Dream,” said George Hardy.
During his military career, Hardy also served as deputy chief for the Air Force Pacific Air Command, commander of the 3rd Air Force in England and as commander of NATO Allied Air Forces Southern Europe in Naples, Italy.
“He was just a natural leader,” said his daughter, Beth Courtney, president of Louisiana Public Broadcasting.
Hardy’s leadership abilities were especially evident while he was commanding NATO Air Forces in Naples in the late 1960s. At the time, Greece and Turkey were about to go to war in Cyprus.
One of Hardy’s deputy chiefs was Greek; another was Turkish. Hardy was able to mediate their feud and dissipate tensions between them, Courtney said.
“My father was always a person who could bring people together,” Courtney said.
Hardy also served on the Board of Trustees of Centenary College, where he graduated in 1938.
In that role, Hardy was a “problem-solver” who excelled at connecting with donors who aided the institution, said Donald Webb, who was president of Centenary College at the time.
“All he had to do was call together a meeting of local citizens and explain the needs of the college and there would be support,” Webb said.
Hardy is survived by his wife, Norma Ann, as well as three children, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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