Mr. James Edward “Jim” Hardin, Sr. passed peacefully on January 22, 2019 surrounded by his family following a brief illness. He was born on November 7, 1933 to the late James Everett Hardin and Elizabeth Williams Hardin in Canton, North Carolina and was predeceased by his parents and brother, Thomas Wayne Williams, of Canton. Also predeceasing him was his son, David Odell Hardin, and daughters, Margaret Elizabeth Hardin and Carol Lynn Hardin all of whom perished in a tragic house fire in 1971.
Jim loved and excelled in various sports including football, baseball, basketball, track and swimming while he attended Canton High School. Due to his athletic prowess he was offered a football scholarship from numerous colleges in the old Southern Conference and the SEC. He chose Duke University due to his desire to become an engineer and graduated with a B.S. in Engineering in 1956. Jim was a huge Duke fan and very proud to have played football for Duke during which he was a member of the 1955 Orange Bowl team that defeated the University of Nebraska. While a student at Duke, Jim joined the Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity where he developed lifelong friendships with many of his brothers.
Prior to his graduation, he met and married another Duke student, Carolyn Odell Couch of Durham with whom he had four children. Upon graduation from Duke, Jim began working with his father-in-law, C. Odell Couch, owner of Couch Furniture Company and Couch Development Company. Together they were involved in numerous real estate developments building scores of houses in the area and furnishing them with all manner of furniture and appliances. In an effort to enhance design and decorating options for his customers, Jim began Custom Interiors, a picture framing and accent furnishings manufacturing business which ultimately made and shipped home and office furnishings all over the world. During his life as a businessman in Durham and early in his career, Jim was actively involved in the Durham Merchants Association and the Durham Jaycees.
Initially beginning his interest in horses as an avocation, Jim began raising thoroughbred horses for his children to ride and enjoy in northern Durham County. Jim then began to raise thoroughbred horses for racing on tracks all over the eastern U.S. To foster and support the sport of horse racing Jim, and his wife Carolyn, joined together with like-minded horsemen and formed the North Carolina Thoroughbred Association. As charter members of the organization who held various leadership positions over the years, Jim and Carolyn helped insure the viability of the current association. Jim also served on the North Carolina Horse Council for many years.
Known as “JJ” to his family and close friends, he was the happiest watching his grandchildren participate in sports, cheerleading, theater and musical events, riding his tractor and playing with “his babies” on the horse farm. He will be remembered for his quick wit and sense of humor, friendly warmth, and enormous smile.
Jim is survived by his wife of 63 years, Carolyn C. Hardin, son Jim Hardin, Jr. and wife, Lori, and grandchildren Carolyn A. Hardin (David Robinson), Maren Hardin, and Jesse Hardin, and a sister, Jean Williams Robinson (Dan).
The family will receive friends and guests on Sunday afternoon, January 27, 2019, from 2:00 to 5:00 at the Hall-Wynne Funeral Home, located at: 1113 W. Main Street, Durham, N.C. Consistent with his wishes, a private memorial of Mr. Hardin and internment of his ashes will be held at a later date. The Hardin family wishes to thank the staff of the Hock Family Pavilion for their care, concern and support during Jim’s stay and in lieu of flowers ask that memorial gifts be made to the Hock Family Pavilion, 4023 N. Roxboro Road, Durham, N.C. 27704.