Thomas G. Hardie

The Baltimore Sun

Thomas Gary Hardie II, a textile machinery business owner who later co-wrote a newspaper column about being a grandparent, died Tuesday of complications from a traumatic brain injury at Roland Park Place. The former Butler resident was 85.

Born in New Orleans and raised in Roland Park, he was a 1939 Gilman School graduate and earned an economics degree from Princeton.

He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II and was a pilot spotting the enemy in the Philippines. He attained the rank of captain and was awarded an Air Medal for bravery.

After the war he became a reporter for The Washington Post. Assigned to Paris, he later wrote for the International Herald Tribune, the old Hearst International News Service and United Press. While in France, he met Dee Dion, then a Vogue magazine writer. They married in Paris in 1950 while he did public relations work for the Marshall Plan.

After a year owning and editing the Netcong-Stanhope News, in Netcong, N.J., he returned to Baltimore in 1954 and ran a family business called Nobelt, which held a patent for machinery that made elastic waistbands.

"I grew up with him burning rubber in our oven, testing how it would stretch," said a daughter, Elizabeth Hardie Nelson of Bristol, Vt.

Mr. Hardie later expanded the business and imported and sold nonstick cookware, Finnish sailboats and Australian wines.

"He loved to go to restaurants, and new restaurants, and he'd meet the manager and loved to talk French," said William Stump, a friend of many years. "He was fun to be with and adventurous in everything he approached."

Key Kidder, another friend, recalled yesterday that Mr. Hardie was "uncommonly personable. He ended every conversation in an unbent way with a laugh. He was animated. His face was always flashing and moving, with his eyebrows arching."

Mr. Hardie edited his wife's writing, including "View from a Hill," a column that appeared in the old News American and The Sun from 1966 to 1974 and that later ran in House and Garden, House Beautiful and Style magazines.

The column contained stories about life on Thornhill Farm in Butler, where he, his wife and children lived for many years. In 1989 he and his wife began a collaboration on a syndicated column, "Grandparenting, a Family Forum."

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. John's Episcopal Church, 3738 Butler Road, where he was a vestry member and established a blood drive.

In addition to his wife of 57 years and daughter, survivors include a son, Todd D. Hardie of Ferrisburg, Vt.; another daughter, Paisley Louise Isaacs of Butler; and eight grandchildren. A son, Thomas Gary Hardie III, died in 1975.

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