Ora Marie Houtz Hardy

Selective Service Administrator,
Union Negotiator, World Traveler,

Ora Marie Houtz Hardy, BYH Class of 1934

Ora Marie Houtz Hardy, Centenarian

Brigham Young High School
Class of 1934

Ora Marie Houtz was born in Provo, Utah, on May 10, 1916, to Ira Houtz and Mary Ellen Walton Houtz. She was the second eldest of eight siblings and grew up on a farm during the Great Depression.

She attended Brigham Young High School where she graduated in 1934.

Thirty-four years after she graduated, BYH was closed in 1968. The four main buildings and entire Lower Campus began to deteriorate. Then a determined group of people raised enough money, and made plans with the city of Provo, to restore the 1892 High School Education Building as the flagship of the new Provo City Library. Some called it "The Miracle at Academy Square."
Ora Marie Houtz in BYH Pep Club uniform, 1934
One day in 2001 Ora received a notice in the mail of the grand opening and rededication ceremonies to be held on Saturday, September 8, 2001.

"I plan to be there to celebrate this wonderful event," she said joyfully. "I located my high school diploma and the commencement exercises program. I graduated with the BYH Class of 1934 and I have so many memories of the good times we have -- being on the drill team and rooting for our players at the games and practicing for the debates." [Provo Daily Herald, September 7, 2001.]

After she graduated from BYH, Ora attended Brigham Young University for 2 years where she studied economics.
She married the love of her life, Don Lamar Hardy, on April 12, 1935 in Utah County.

Soon Don and Ora Hardy moved to Los Angeles where they found jobs during The Depression. A relative offered Don employment. Ora found a job working in Hollywood at the Owl Drug Store.

When the draft started, Don was drafted into the Navy for World War II. Ora began working for the Selective Service where she registered and processed hundreds of young men for military duty, until the war ended in 1945.

After the war, Ora found a job at the FMC Corporation where over a 27-year career she rose from secretary to union negotiator, a trailblazer in what was typically a man's world. She was tough, smart, fair, and highly respected.

An important business in California, FMC had been founded in 1883 when founder John Bean created an innovative insecticide spray pump to combat scale, an infestation that was ravaging California's orchards and endangering the livelihood of growers.

FMC had launched into the chemical manufacturing business with the acquisition of Niagara Sprayer & Chemical Co. -- insecticides and fungicides -- in 1943. Their first combat test came at Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.

The company changed its name to Food Machinery and Chemical in 1948, after acquiring Westvaco Chemical Corporation, which used chlorine and caustic soda to produce organic insecticides and pesticides. FMC had huge deposits of phosphorus, used in synthetic detergents, and trona, used to make glass and other products.

As the company grew, the number of employees grew, and Ora played a more and more important part in negotiating for living wages and good benefits for the workers.

Although Ora and Don didnít have children, she helped to raise her younger siblings, offering help in times of need and illness. Don died in 1967. When Ora retired from FMC in 1975, she returned home to Utah to live in Springville.

In Springville Ora began a new chapter in her life, pursuing a life of service and travel.

Her love of travel took her around the world as she enjoyed experiencing different cultures. She often said, "Travel is the best education ever."

One vivid memory she liked to share was her ride on a smelly, spitting, flea-ridden camel up to the Great Pyramids in Egypt. She loved it!

Camelback near Giza

And boy did she travel, spending the decades from her 50s into her 90s exploring the world, including trips to Hawaii, England, Scotland, France, Italy, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, the Panama Canal, and of course, Egypt, where she rode that smelly camel to the pyramids in Giza.

At home in Springville Ora Marie Hardy became a beloved pillar of her community, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attending church every Sunday. She was blessed with lifelong good health. She was optimistic and happy.

She became ďAunt OraĒ to dozens of nieces and nephews. She also was a generous donor to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Ora wanted to reach 100 years and she did it in exactly the way she wanted with a huge party attended by over one hundred family members, and friends.

An open house gathering marking her milestone 100th birthday took place in Springville at the Hobble Creek Stake Pavilion, 495 S. Canyon Road, on May 14, 2016.

She was honored with membership into the prestigious Governor's Century Club of Utah and attended Gov. Gary R. Herbert's Centenarian Luncheon.

Ora Marie Houtz Hardy passed away peacefully at home in Springville on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, at the age of 100.

She has now been reunited with her eternal sweetheart Don, her parents, and siblings Rowena, Alice, Jean, Walt and Juanita. She leaves behind her beloved sister Ellen Bethers, 95, of Fletcher, North Carolina, and many many adoring nieces and nephews who will miss her sparkling blue eyes and that mischievous smile.

Don L. Hardy was born on April 8, 1911 in Provo, Utah. His parents were George W. Hardy and Myrtle Ann Freshwater Hardy. He died on February 28, 1967 in Arcadia, California, at the age of 55.

Her family suggests donations in Ora's name to Primary Children's Hospital, 100 Mario Capecchi Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132.

Services were held Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at Hobble Creek Stake Center 495 S. Canyon Rd. Springville, Utah. Interment, East Lawn Memorial Hills Cemetery, Provo. [Provo Daily Herald, October 23, 2016]

Ora Marie Houtz Hardy, BYH Class of 1934

BYH Biographies