Rodney Hardee was born January 22, 1947, in Horry County, South Carolina, to Joseph Clifton Hardee and Irene Hardee. A 1965 graduate of Loris High School, he received a bachelor’s degree in business management from Coker College. He served as the public works director for the City of Loris for 41 years.
Rodney was a firefighter for 40 years, more than 20 of those as an assistant fire chief. After God and his family, the Loris Fire Department was his greatest passion. During his time with the department, he became a certified as a state fire marshal.
A veteran of Operation Desert Storm, Mr. Hardee served in the South Carolina Army National Guard, obtaining the rank of first sergeant with 33 years of service to his state and country.
One of his greatest loves was the Oak Dale Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon and held numerous other positions during his lifelong affiliation there. He was the founder and director of the Food Distribution Program at Oak Dale, and his life’s focus was caring for others in need and those less fortunate within his community. Even while battling several health complications, he worked tirelessly at everything he did.
He was a member of the South Carolina State Firemen’s Association, South Carolina National Guard Association, South Carolina Water and Pollution Association, and Loris Masonic Lodge #205 A.F.M.
He answered his last call just hours before being hospitalized and died in the line of duty on July 9, 2013.
Rodney is survived by his wife, Donnella Stevens Hardee; two sons and their spouses, Cole & Tanya Hardee and Ashley & Angie Hardee; his mother, Irene Hardee; three sisters, Brenda Canada, Charlotte (Lloyd) Harrelson, and Yvonne (Ray) Stanley; sister-in-law, Vicky Stevens; five grandchildren, Holly, Maclaley, Bryson, Colson, and Bella Hardee; and numerous nephews and nieces. He became “Pa-pa” to a great number of “acquired” grandchildren throughout the local community. He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Clifton Hardee.
Rodney Hardee loved his wife with all his heart and was the best mentor and father a family could have. He taught us all the importance of supporting family and community. He was a public servant in the truest sense, and he did everything because he loved people.