|Birth: ||Mar. 4, 1911|
|Death: ||Dec. 20, 2007|
Hard work and honesty were the hallmarks of the career of entrepreneur Jabez Sanford "Jabie" Hardin -- retired co-founder of Hardin's Distributing Company and co-founder of Hardin's-SYSCO. Mr. Hardin died Thursday at his East Memphis home. He was 96. He started out distributing food to stores, but in the 1950s he shifted his business to food service operations such as restaurants, hospitals, prisons and schools. "He was one of the true pioneers of the food industry," said Thomas Boggs, CEO of Huey's, among other Memphis restaurants. "It was amazing what he was able to do." Especially, Boggs said, when there was a sale to be made.
"Probably the greatest salesman I ever saw," said Boggs. "He could truly sell ice to an Eskimo. The idea of not getting an account was beyond him." Mr. Hardin was inducted into the Society of Entrepreneurs in 1997. "I am a strong believer in the philosophy that if you take something from the land/community, you should also give something back," Mr. Hardin said upon his induction. With Helen Hardin, his wife of 76 years, Mr. Hardin lived out those words across the city, enriching hospitals, colleges, museums, libraries, the zoo and others. In 1993, the Hardins established the Jabie Sanford Hardin III Chair of Excellence in Combinatoric Mathematics in memory of their only son, who died in 1985. Also in 1993, the Hardins gave the Memphis Zoo $1 million, the largest private individual gift in its history. The zoo's new primate canyon was named after the Hardins. Dr. Ralph Faudree, provost at the University of Memphis, said: "From the standpoint of the University of Memphis, he was very generous. He supported the university in many ways." In 1994, the Hardins established a chair of excellence in economics/managerial journalism at the U of M. In 1996, they established a chair of neurosurgery at the University of Tennessee, his alma mater. That same year their gift allowed for the dedication of Hardin Hall at Memphis Botanic Garden. "He and Helen were great partners," Boggs said. "Personally, I was not only impressed with his financial success, but with how he helped the people who were close to him," said Faudree. "Whether it was someone that worked at his home, his secretary in his office, or a young business executive." Other recipients of the Hardins' gifts include: the Baptist East Hardin Pediatric Center, the Child Advocacy Center, Partners in Public Education; Rhodes College, Memphis Fire Museum, Methodist Hospital, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Public Library and Information System and the Salvation Army. Mr. Hardin also leaves a sister, Edith Reese of Leah, Ga., and a brother, Dr. John Hardin of New York. A memorial service at Second Presbyterian Church is pending. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any memorials be made to Memphis Botanic Garden, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or a charity of the donor's choice. (Published in The Commercial Appeal, 12/21/2007)
Jabie Stanford Hardin (1934 - 1985)*
Memorial Park Cemetery
Created by: Carole McCaig
Record added: Nov 23, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31633331
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