A devoted Christian, Mary Jo Hardy passed peacefully at her home at Lake Sherwood Village in Baton Rouge on October 10, 2020 at the age of 87.
She was born in Lucien, MS. on February 6, 1933, one of six children to Bertha V. (Chapman) and Thomas Cage Byrd. She was a graduate of Baton Rouge High School in 1951. She began her nursing career at the Baton Rouge General Hospital in 1952 as a nursing student part-time while attending Northwestern State University. Upon graduation in 1955 she received a BS Major in Nursing. She then became a full time employee with the Baton Rouge General Hospital from 1955 through 1965 serving as Staff Nurse, Head Nurse, Supervisor, Training Director, and Assistant Director of Nursing. She left the hospital in 1965 to attend the University of Maryland receiving a MS in Nursing Administration. She returned once again to the Baton Rouge General Hospital and served from 1966 to her retirement in 1978 as the Director of Nursing Service. In July 1979, she began employment with the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System until her retirement in January 1998 as a RN Manager. She loved this work as she had a special place in her heart caring for the mentally ill.
In December 1955 she married Cecil M. Hardy, the love of her life. They spent 52 years together side by side. Cecil and Mary Jo were members of Faith Baptist Church in Baker, LA. for over 49 years. They were very active in the Airstream Club for over 33 years and traveled throughout the United States pulling their Airstream. After Cecil's death in 2007 she moved from Baker to Lake Sherwood Village in Baton Rouge and became a member of Parkview Baptist Church. She loved to collect owls, Fenton milk glass, and Santa Clause ornaments.
Mary Jo is survived by her nieces and nephews, Dana Gonzales, Wade Byrd, Tommy Boyett, Cathy Allen, Randy Boyett, David Byrd, Bonnie Byrd, and Donis Raborn. She was loved by many and will be missed by all who knew her. She had a generous, loving heart and truly cared about people. Mary Jo is preceded in death by her husband, Cecil M. Hardy; parents, Thomas and Bertha Byrd; two sisters, Pauline Byrd and Jean Boyett; three brothers, Carol, James, and Don Byrd; and one niece, Linda Brown.
The family extends its gratitude to Cardinal Hospice and especially to Donna and Mandy who provided faithful and loving care during Mary Jo's illness. They were truly a blessing to our family.
A graveside service will be held on October 24, 2020 at the Hillcrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery for family members.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.
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