The Man He Was
Johnie Alfred Hardeman Sr., 84 years old, passed away on Sunday, December 17, 2017, 4:00 pm at his home with his family. Johnie Hardeman Sr. was born August 30, 1933, in Grand Junction, Tennessee he was the son of Cornellius and Millie Hardeman. He was the last of eleven children (six sisters and 4 brothers) to rest.
He is survived by his wife of fifty six years, Freddie Mae Starks-Hardeman, son Johnie Alfred Hardeman Jr. (Kimberly Hardeman, Daughter-In-Law), daughter, Areecia Shequan Hardeman (Brian Hann, Son-In- Law), five grand girls Quantricia Page, Martinique Hardeman, Erica Green, Jacia Williams and Grabriella Hann.
He graduated from an Engineering/Technical School in Chicago. He served as a sanitation worker starting in January 1958. He gave the City of Memphis fifty two (52) years of service as Sanitation, Crew Chief, within the Sanitation Department, Division of Public Works. During his time as a City of Memphis Sanitation worker, Johnie Hardeman Sr. impacted the City of Memphis in a way that he would have never imagined. He was one of the 1300 sanitation workers who walked away from his job and went on strike 49 years ago. While striking, Johnie Hardeman Sr. stood for economic equality and social justice, equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunity and respect for all sanitation workers (I AM A MAN). After the strike was over and the salaries of the sanitation workers increased 10% of their current hourly salary $1.80, Johnie Hardeman Sr. continued his career in Sanitation in which became City of Memphis, Public Works Division, Solid Waste Department. As time took a toll on Johnie Hardeman Sr. September 2010, he retired from the City of Memphis, Solid Waste (Sanitation) Department. Even though Johnie Hardeman retired, he was never forgotten. As of today, a ground breaking ceremony for the “I AM A MAN “, Memorial Plaza, has just taken place across the street from Claiborne Temple Church. The “I AM A MAN “, Memorial Plaza will list each 1968 Sanitation Workers that was involved in the strike and others that made an epic difference in Memphis.
During his free time he worked to be a provider for his family, enjoyed spending time with his children, sitting on the lake fishing, and watching Westerns in his favorite chair.
Those that knew Johnie Hardeman Sr. called him Jay. His friends understood what a thunderhead was, because if it was lightening he would not get out of the truck or he would disappear until the storm was gone and the clouds cleared up. If you really knew him, you understood when he would say hey, there goes Shine, did you see George, watch out for Bill look at Hector, regardless of what their real names were. If you knew Johnie and worked on the truck with him, you understood there were only two reasons for him to climb out and come to the back of the truck, one was to step on an aluminum can so he could take it home for junk. The other was when he wanted you to know that the guy that walked pass the truck was your speed. If you knew Johnie, you would have known if a horror movie was on, or a simple shadow came across the room it would scare him.
As I stated at the beginning, Sunday, December 17, 2017, 4:00pm, Johnie Hardeman Jr., went to rest with his father, mother and siblings. As his family saw how Alzheimer’s begin to take a toll on his mind and body we knew that our Jay would be leaving us.
Now You May Rest
You have seen many decades pass by, from what was once new is old.
You have shared your great wisdom to all of us, in which we have success.
You have shown your daughter, daughter in law, and grand girls what to expect from a man. As Freddie would say I have two J’s that look out for me, they are Jesus and Johnie, so, they better watch it.
You taught your son how to be a man, father, provider and leader. As you motivated him by letting him know that you were proud of the man that he became.
As you knew your time to rest would be soon, you would say, I am trying to get up there (pointing up) and not down there (pointing down).
You told us to never to be a fool, or they will bump your head until it bleads.
Now as you rest, it is our responsibility to teach our children and our children, children’s of your legacy and their inheritance.
Rest well my friend you have no more to worry about. Though your body is at rest, your spirit has been assigned to watch over us. Sleep my dear, for now you have not to worry about tomorrow.
We love you and miss you, NOW YOU MAY REST.
A MESSAGE TO MY GRANDDADDY
They say everyone has to go, whether it when their young or when their old. I just want to say either way the ones left here are never prepared. A wonderful man you were granddaddy. You taught me everything the right way and I will never forget that. I will never forget the love you comfort me with all the time, you and granny. I love you granddaddy and the good is NEVER FORGOTTEN. FOREVER YOU ARE HERE WITH ME!!!
God Took the Best
God saw him getting tired and not a cure to be.
So HE put HIS arms around him and whispered, “Come to me”.
With tearful eyes we watched him suffer, and saw him slowly fade away.
Although we love him dearly, we could not make him stay.
A golden heart stopped beating, hardworking hands put rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us, HE only takes the best.
Serenity Funeral Home (901) 379-0861
1638 Sycamore View Road
Memphis, TN 38134