A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at Doxology Bible Church, 4805 Arborlawn Drive, Fort Worth.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to:
– Happy Hill Farm, 3846 N. Highway144, Granbury, TX 76048
– Cancer Care Service, 623 S. Henderson, Fort Worth, TX 76104
– The Center for Transforming Lives, 512 W. 4th Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 or a charity of your choice.
Right click in the box below and open the video to view a tribute to Joe.
Joseph Edwin Hardgrove was born May 13, 1933 in Fort Worth and passed peacefully at home on April 9, 2021, surrounded by his wife and six children.
The son of Letha and Truett Hardgrove, Joe grew up in Burleson and attended Burleson schools. In the 9th grade, he played varsity basketball at Burleson High School. During that year, he was recruited to play baseball and basketball at R. L. Paschal High School in Fort Worth by legendary basketball coach, Charlie Turner. He entered Paschal in September of 1948, and by the spring of 1949, he had pitched Paschal to a semi-final state championship win over Sunset H.S. of Dallas. By the end of his senior year at Paschal, Joe was All-State in basketball twice and baseball three times.
Joseph’s academic and athletic journey took him to Texas A&M University on a basketball and baseball scholarship. Along with pursuing degrees in English and Physical Education, Joe played both sports for two years, then concentrated on baseball only in his junior and senior year and helping the Aggies win the Southwest Conference Championship, while also earning All SW Conference honors.
During Joe’s senior year, his coach got kicked out of a game. Coach Bear Bryant, head football coach for the Aggies, was asked to come down from the stands to stay in the dugout so the game could continue. Coach Bryant came down, and as he walked into the dugout with a cigarette in his hand said, “I’ll sit and watch the game, but Joe Hardgrove is going to run this ball club.” The Aggies went on to win that game.
After graduating from Texas A&M in 1955, Joe was drafted and signed with the New York Giants, where he played two years in their farm system. During his second year with the Giants, he was drafted by the military and reported to Pensacola, FL for Navy flight training school. After an injury to his arm, Joe was given an honorable discharge. It was during this time in Pensacola that he met Amelia Colarusso, a Navy nurse. They returned to Fort Worth, married and had five wonderful children.
After returning to Fort Worth, Joe was offered a job to teach English at his alma mater, Paschal High School, along with coaching basketball and assisting with football. Shortly into the fall semester, the baseball coach resigned, and they offered the job to Joe. He gladly accepted. During the next three years, Joe would take his ball club to Austin for the State championship 2 of those 3 years; and in 1959 was voted the Texas Sportswriters Association Coach of the Year. He saw many of his players go on to play college and professional baseball. He was very proud of his players and stayed close with many of them over the years.
After coaching, Joe worked for General Dynamics, went into the advertising/public relations business, was state director of youth bowling – all before finding his longtime career in investment planning and life insurance in 1964.
In 1974, he took over World Financial Services and moved his office downtown where he officed for the remainder of his career. At that same time, he hired a young lady, Carolyn Wilders. They worked very well together – in fact, so well they married in 1977. Along with a new wife, he also added child #6 – Tammy Bryant.
Joe and Carolyn built a strong business together, and Joe eventually changed the name of the company to Omega Securities. Having this business and helping clients manage their investments became a ministry to him. Over the years, Joe has helped hundreds of families achieve their financial dreams and many have passed these achievements down to the second and third generations.
Joe became involved in Bible studies early in their marriage, and developed a hunger for studying the Old Testament. He taught adult Sunday School classes for many years, and he and Carolyn held Bible studies in their home for over 15 years. He felt a particular calling to help prison ministries and became faithfully involved in several.
Baseball never left his heart, and he coached youth baseball teams for many years, as well as youth basketball teams. When he wasn’t coaching, he loved attending youth baseball games, as well as college games. This also gave him a chance to catch up with old teammates, former players and competitors from games past.
Joe wrote several books during his life: Trim Control (1964); When September Comes, a Memoir (2000); Birds of a Feather (2008); Connecting the Dots, Thoughts from the Diary of a Politically Incorrect Mutual Fund Aficionado (2013); and Caliche Dust, Foul Tips and Brief Summertime Loves (2014).
Joe was also a lover of music from childhood. He took piano and saxophone lessons, and at 13 his teacher said, “Joe, it’s either baseball or music – you’ve got to decide”. So it was baseball, but the love of music never went away, and he continued to play and enjoy “The road not taken”…
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Letha and Truett Hardgrove, infant daughter, Mary Elizabeth, and infant grandson, Joseph Glenn Donaldson.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Carolyn; children, Kathleen Donaldson (Dale); Angela Dever, Joe Hardgrove (Nancy) Jennifer Timmons, Tom Hardgrove (Molly), and Tammy Bryant (Monty); grandchildren, Alex Donaldson, Abby Donaldson, Mason Dever (Liz), Stanley Miller, Kendall Hardgrove, Truett Hardgrove, Sarah Mullins, Jules Vogel (Nathan), Bailey Giambelluca (Mark) Lillian Perkins (Rahman), J. Lee Juniker, Jack Hardgrove, Mary Kate Hardgrove, Hannah Grace Hardgrove, Monty Dillon Bryant (Karen) and Katelynn Bryant; and four great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Carolyn Summers (Kenneth); niece, Paula Goodson (Steve), nephews, Mark Summers (Geneva), and Andrew Summers; and their families and various cousins. He is also survived by many, many friends.
Special thanks to the excellent caregivers from Home Instead; the staff of Community Health of Texas for their very special care. Also a very special thank to you Martha Hernandez, who was devoted to him and loved and cared for him for a number of years.
Joe loved deeply and was loved by so many. He believed in doing what was right and it showed in his work ethic. He was a giant of a man. A man who was an encourager, comforter, and was always willing to share his wisdom with those who sought it. He was a man of strong faith which came from only one source – our Heavenly Father. He leaves a legacy of helping multi-generational families plant shade trees – shade trees of faith, family, finance and a future of hope. We loved him dearly, and he will be missed.