In 2012, civic leader William Hardacre was inducted into the Anderson Community Schools Hall of Fame. He graduated from Anderson High School in 1949.
Hardacre died May 11 at the age of 82.
Numerous articles have been written about him over the years. But one of the most encompassing was printed in the program of the Hall of Fame ceremony from Oct. 19, 2012. Here is that article:
Bill Hardacre is the only known ACS Community Hall of Fame inductee to have served as a “hop boy,” which may require a bit of explanation. The eldest of three sons, Bill began his working career in the Hardacre family business, East Side Jersey Dairy, at the age of thirteen. Apparently, child labor laws were not in effect during those days.
Starting as “hop boy” – a person who hopped out of the dairy truck to deliver the product to the customer’s front door – Bill worked his way up the ranks to become the company’s treasurer.
After the sale of Best Ever to Prairie Farms, Bill’s business interests included real estate projects like The Flagship Park, Creedmoor Addition and Hudson House, and he was a founding partner for EVI and for Madison Community Bank. Additionally He was instrumental in the formation of our community’s well respected Harter House assisted living facility.
Recalling his formative years in the ACS system, Bill remembers two teachers in particular who had an early and lasting influence on his life, seventh-grade teacher Dennis Strappon and eighth-grade teacher Ray Croxton. As an aside, during his days at Roosevelt School, Bill began to notice a girl by the name of Harmeson. But, more of that later.
After graduating in accounting at Indiana University, Bill eventually wound up serving in the Army during the Korean War. Bill spent sixteen months in Korea at that time. At some point following his discharge he began a four-year whirlwind courtship of Ann Harmeson, who established an enduring reputation as one of the state’s most influential dance instructors.
Bill and Ann Hardacre’s names are synonymous with philanthropy in the Anderson/ Madison County community, (following in the footsteps of the extended Hardacre family) and both have received many acknowledgements from their neighbors for their innumerable activities. During his many years, Bill was given many awards, including the Chief Anderson, Golden Deeds, Person of the Year and an honorary doctorate from Anderson University, to name a few. Bill (and Ann) have been long-term and generous supporters of Anderson University and Bill has been on Board of Trustees for fifteen years. Of all the like-minded community servants he has met throughout life’s journey,Bill credits Dr. Virgil Bjork of the First United Methodist Church and the late Mayor Tom McMahan as being the most influential.
No story of Bill (and Ann) Hardacre’s legacy would be complete without mentioning the Paramount Theatre complex in downtown Anderson. Bill (and Ann) were 2 of the 4 people to enter the building less than 30 days before the wrecking ball was to start the demolition. They were leaders in building a coalition of committed community citizens who banded together to save and restore it. Twenty-three years later, they are still vitally involved in its operation and constant champions for its use and preservation.
Bill’s commitment to service is an outward manifestation of his deep and abiding faith, one that is anchored on Psalms 48:14: “For this God is our God forever and ever. He will be our guide even unto death."