Kelly D Hardman, age 79, left on a new adventure to join his heavenly family on June 8, 2022. He was born to Maurice Chandler Hardman and Leota Kelley Hardman on January 8,1943 in Mackay, Idaho.
Kelly enjoyed growing up in a small town. He spent time fishing, hunting, and riding horses with his dad. From an early age, Kelly wanted to make his own way, so at the age of ten, he started his own shoeshine business. He worked outside the local taverns on Main Street shining the boots of the local patrons. He quickly learned that the more the cowboys drank, the bigger the tips!
Kelly attended Mackay High School and was involved in sports, playing on the basketball team. After graduating, he took to the rodeo circuit as a saddle bronc rider. He enjoyed traveling around the country by train with the other cowboys. He had many stories about the cities they visited.
Kelly and his brother, Allen, ran a local Texaco service station together. He was always an entrepreneur looking for the next business venture.
Kelly joined the Army, working at Headquarters in Germany as a cryptographer. Here he also learned the clerical skills needed to succeed later on in his other businesses. Kelly had an uncanny ability for numbers and mathematics. Often, he would total up the groceries at the check-out counter before the cashier could finish ringing them up! This was maddening to the cashiers, and became a competition. Still looking for his niche in life, Kelly briefly worked as a Blackjack dealer at Cactus Pete’s in Jackpot, Nevada. His card playing skills were legendary! Later in life he enjoyed taking his kids, grandkids and crew to Wendover.
Kelly came to Utah to work as a hod tender for a friend, and was introduced to a cute little bartender at a local tavern. Kelly married that cute little barmaid, Jean Smith, and her four children, two months later on Feb.27th, 1968. His buddies back home had a bet that the marriage wouldn’t last six months, and he spent fifty-four years proving them wrong.
Kelly and Jean purchased that tavern, the Diamond Club, and renamed it the Stocker Club, due to Kelly’s association with stock car racing. Many years were spent racing at Turpin Speedway on weekends and working as the daredevil flagman at Carbon County Speedway in Price.
Because of his skill in the building trades, Kelly then started his drywall company, Custom Drywall. He employed all of his sons, grandsons, nephews, and countless other young men who were schooled in not only the art of hanging sheet rock, but also in work ethic, integrity and pride of workmanship.
Kelly was a loyal friend to those who gained his trust and would do anything to help them out. His kids and grandkids were the light of his life. They always knew where to score bubble gum, carnival money, or a loan.
Kelly is survived by his wife, Jean; his four children: Darren (Tonya) of Springville, Eric (Caraline) of Pleasant Grove, Leslie Nielsen (Rod) of Spanish Fork, and Jon (Elizabeth) also of Springville. Also survived by his brother, Allen of Challis, Idaho; seventeen grandchildren, and twenty-eight great-grandchildren; and former daughter-in-law, Tammy Hardman. He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings: Loren Papworth (Shirley), Winnamae Hanni (Wayne), and sister-in-law Jan (Allen).
Kelly requested no formal services, however, a reception for family and friends will be held Friday, June 10, from 6-8 pm at Wheeler Mortuary, 211 E 200 S Springville. A short graveside dedication and military rites will be held Monday, June 13, 11:00 am, at Evergreen Cemetery.
Special thanks to the Intermountain Palliative team and Envision Hospice staff, McKenna, Tracy, Karrie, and Levette.