Richard B. "Jiggs" Hardt


Richard B. "Jiggs" Hardt, 87, of Payson, died July 27, 2007.

He was born on the Hardt homestead at Jakes Corner, Ariz., on Oct. 20, 1919. His early life was spent between the Hardt homestead and his grandparents' ranch, the Belluzzi homestead (now known as Rim Trail Ranch). He moved to Chandler at the age of five. He attended Chandler High School, Tempe Normal (ASU) and graduated with his master's degree from Arizona Teacher's College (NAU).

He was a member of NAU's chain gang and played football for both ASU and NAU.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II and was stationed in Florida, where he taught bail-out procedures to Chinese cadets. His first teaching job was at Scottsdale High. He moved on to teach and coach for 28 years at North High. During his coaching career and beyond, Mr. Hardt spent 51 summers working as the state produce inspector. He would be out of the house by 4 a.m., so he could be home by 2 p.m., trying to beat the heat.

He taught P.E., psychology and many other subjects. He coached many sports while at North but his passion, besides working with kids, was coaching basketball. He was head basketball coach at North until the late 70s. He retired in 1982.

Mr. Hardt was a charter member in the Arizona High School Coaches Hall of Fame, as well as the Scottsdale Coaches Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his sons, Chuck (Shirley) Hardt and Bill Hardt; 10 grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his son, Gary, sister Jean (Hardt) Pew and brothers Don and Bob Hardt.

Graveside services will be held at Payson Pioneer Cemetery at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 4 at 10 a.m. Visitation will take place at Messinger Payson Funeral Home, 302 W. Aero Dr. from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 3.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.