Celebration of Life
On June 19, 1932 in Achille, Oklahoma, God blessed the late Sherman & Josephine Hardy with the arrival of a beautiful baby girl name Janice Marie Hardy. In keeping with the meaning of her name, God is gracious, Janice was a beacon of light and laughter to her parents and older brother, Nicholas. She accepted Christ at an early age and later attended Langston High in Hot Springs, AR and Preparatory School in Yakima, Washington.
In 1950, she moved to Los Angeles, California to begin her career as a licensed cosmetologist. Her entrepreneurial spirit was quickly recognized by both citizens and celebrities alike. She was a highly sought-after hairstylist; however, still found time to be an active Civil Rights and community advocate while attending Business College. In a chance sighting while cruising Crenshaw Boulevard, her life would change when she reconnected with an old acquaintance, Richard Lee. They would soon become inseparable and everyone could quickly see the blossoming love between the two. Janice and Richard were married on May 30, 1959; thus, spanning some 60 years of unwavering love and commitment. To their union, were born two children, a daughter, Leslie Elliott and a son, Richard Elliott.
Without a doubt, Janice and Richard were the Barack and Michelle Obama of their era. They were pillars of their community known for their generosity, entrepreneurship and random acts of kindness. They never hesitated to welcome or encourage family and friends who needed their support. The couple’s home became a haven for numerous nephews, nieces, cousins and friends who needed their care. They would live in California for many years prior to relocating to Austin, Texas in 1972.
Within the Austin community, Janice continued to be a trendsetter. She joined the Travis County Sheriff’s Department and became the first African American Supervisor in the Department. Her years of service and leadership were unparalleled for African American recruitment and mentoring. After her retirement, she opened a childcare facility affectionately named after her late son, Scooter’s Learning Center. Truly, it was with a renewed passion that she shepherds the love and upbringing for children throughout the City of Austin. Her influence was key in shaping the lives of countless boys and girls to pursue their dreams and aspirations of higher education. Janice traveled immensely, loved to lose herself in the comfort of reading a good book and couldn’t resist the delight of a good shoe sale.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Sherman Hardy; daughter, Leslie Elliott Hardy; son, Richard Elliott “Scooter” Lee, Jr.; brother, Nicholas Hardy; niece, Michelle Hardy; step-daughter, Carol Holley and adopted son/cousin, Robert Williams.
She leaves to cherish her memory, her husband, friend and soulmate,Richard Elliott Lee, Sr.; nephew, Gary Hardy; adopted son, Edens Dorlean; brother-in-law, James Lee, Jr. (Roy Jean); step-daughter, Constance Holley; niece, Jewell Evelyn Lee and a host of other nieces, nephews, cousins, God-children, longtime friends, neighbors, Gethsemane church family and all who ever encountered her beautiful spirit.