OBITUARY: John Thomas Harding (1927-2020)

John Thomas Harding was born in Chicago Aug 6, 1927.  As a city kid, he loved spending the summers in Door County picking cherries and being on the water.  He learned to fly an airplane before he could drive a car, by cleaning planes at Midway Airport, in exchange for flying lessons.  When he was 18, he served in the Navy, participating in a flight training program.

“Jack” also married young.  His bride was Elsie Jakobsen, an RN, and they had a long and fruitful union which included 6 children (Kristeen (Todd) Fansler, Richard (Kris) Harding, Thomas Harding, Ruth Harding Weaver (Greg), Jill Harding (Michael Brown), and Jayne Harding (special friend Bill Hohensee).  He is further survived by 16 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.

While living in Chicago, Jack was employed in building and real estate, and he and Elsie owned ABC Nursery School and Day Camp.  They enjoyed bringing their family and the children in their care, up to Door County during the summer, especially when those trips involved sailing and swimming at the beach.  In 1967, the family moved out of Chicago after purchasing the farm on Garrett Bay Road and the Norrland Resort in Ellison Bay. They owned and operated the Norrland until selling it as the first condominium in Door County.  

John found pleasure in retirement and was instrumental in developing the Scandia Retirement Village. He was also a member of Nor-Dor Kiwanis Club and the First Baptist Church in Sister Bay.  After Elsie died in 2003, John traveled the country and eventually moved part-time to Santa Barbara, California when he married Eva Prescott. Her family became his, and he is survived by his Van Buren and Prescott step children.  When Eva died, he returned to Door County for good.

John loved the Door County community and enjoyed participating in its many activities. He was the last living member of the original Scandia Village Retirement board.  He moved to an independent living apartment at Scand 2 years ago and came to care deeply about his friends and neighbors there. Once he moved to Scand, he became known as the resident historian, an honor he was proud of.  John enjoyed driving around his beloved peninsula, and he found great pleasure in reading and learning new things. He put God and family above all else, and died a happy man.