Brooke Hardy was remembered as a fair and honest man, a true friend to Jefferson Township, a Yankee hater and a thespian, among other things.
Friends and family gathered at the gazebo outside of the municipal building on Saturday morning to remember
Hardy was a Jefferson native and a teacher in the township for 35 years before his retirement in 2002. He was also a councilman in town from 2001 – 2010, when he resigned his seat when he and his wife Lorrie moved to North Carolina, where he passed away.
Lorrie and Hardy’s children Derek and his wife Anna of Fair Lawn, daughter Heather Hine and granddaughters Alyson, Kylee and Morgan Hine of Lake Hopatcong, gathered for the memorial service and disposition of ashes, along with a crowd of more than 100 friends.
Jefferson Township Mayor Russell Felter opened the service with his own memories of Hardy.
“Brooke would tell you what he thought, whether he agreed or disagreed,” Felter said. “Sometimes council meetings would get loud, but as soon as you walked out the door it was all forgotten and you were friends.”
Steve Meyer, a friend of Hardy’s, recalled his hate for the Yankees and his love of jazz.
“Jazz, what’s up with that?” Meyer said. “We went to college in the 1960s. But it was the Midwest, so I guess that’s not the best place to learn about the Rolling Stones.
“Brooke taught me about being fair and honest and giving back to the community,” Meyer said.
Hardy’s son Derek also spoke, fighting back tears.
“Dad was usually the one who would be making speeches like this,” he said. “I can remember frantic nights of speech writing at the kitchen table. I can almost hear his voice echoing through the hills.
“My father’s loss has been immeasurable to our family,” he continued. “Now it’s about finding the joy that comes out of sorrow. This day will always be remembered as one of those days.”
Finally, Hardy’s wife Lorrie briefly addressed the crowd.
“I want to thank all of you for your love and support,” she said. “This was always the right place for Brooke, and this is where he’ll stay.”
Hardy was also remembered at Friday night's Jefferson Falcons football game, when the press box was dedicated to him. He spent many years as the "voice of Jefferson football," announcing home games.