Col. Preston Bethea HARDY
Friday March 29, 1985
Col Preston Bethea Hardy, attorney, Air Force Officer
Dillon--Col. Preston Bethea Hardy, 63, retired US Air Force, of Charleston and
Dillon, died Thursday.
Born in Dillon County, he was a son of the late Dr B F and Mary McLeod Bethea
Hardy. He was a graduate of Georgia Military Academy, Wofford College and the
University of South Carolina law school. He did postgraduate work at Florida State
University and was admitted to practice before the SC Supreme Court, the US Court of
Military Appeals and the US Supreme Court.
Col. Hardy flew with the 4th Fighter Group in Europe during World War II,
serving in four campaigns. He was the first to discover and report to the Allies that the
Germans had flooded Holland. During the Vietnam War, he was vice commander of the
37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Phu Cat Air Base in the Republic of South Vietnam. He
was shot down over North Vietnam on July 5, 1968, and was rescued the same day.
From 1961 to 1965, he was professor of Aerospace Studies at Florida State
University. He was commandant of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Units in South
Carolina and six other Southeastern states from 1965 through 1967.
He was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak
leaf cluster, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with 15 oak leaf clusters, the US Air Force
Distinguished Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster and the Purple Heart.
Col. Hardy retired from active duty in 1972 and returned to Dillon, where he was
a member and past president of the Dillon County Historical Society and treasurer of
Dothan, Inc., a non-profit agency devoted to the historical preservation of the old Dothan
Community in Dillon County. He served as chairman of the Dillon House Museum
Commission and was a member of the Dillon Council on Aging and the Dillon Rotary
He was a member of Scabbard and Blade, Kappa Sigma, Rotary International,
Woodmen of the World, the American Legion, the VFW and the Methodist Church.
Surviving are his widow, Mary Rogers Hardy; daughters, Mrs MacLeod Bellune
of Lexington and Mrs Coline McNew of Dayton, Ohio; sons, Preston B Hardy, Jr. of
Memphis, Tenn., and Capt Timothy G Hardy of Valdosta, Ga.; brothers, B F Hardy of
Dillon and Clifford Hardy of Florence; and grandchildren.
Services will be held at 2pm Saturday at Blanton Funeral Home. Burial, with full
military honors, will be in Dothan Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Dothan Community, Inc.
Submitted by Carolyn Klear, 26 June 2004.