David E. Harden, former Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Harden Furniture and a Life Trustee of Hamilton College, died on Sept. 7, 2018 after a short illness. He was 90.
Mr. Harden was born September 12, 1927, in McConnellsville, N.Y., to Harry A. Harden and Gladys Link Harden. He graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., in 1948, with a degree in economics and history.
After college, Mr. Harden went to work for Harden Furniture, the family company founded in 1844. After his father died suddenly in 1950, Mr. Harden, just 23 years old, became treasurer of the company while his uncle Charles Harden served as president. In 1955, Mr. Harden became president of Harden Furniture and remained in that position until his retirement in 1992.
During his tenure, Harden Furniture became known as a leading supplier of high-quality traditional designs. He understood product design and marketing, and knew the value of relationships in selling home furnishings products. Mr. Harden also understood the value of craftsmanship and took great pride in the McConnellsville team.
In 1991, Mr. Harden received the Corning Award for Excellence, the most prestigious award presented by The Business Council of New York State, of which he was a past chairman. He was also a past chairman of the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers and a former president of the New York State Golf Association. In addition, Mr. Harden served on numerous corporate boards, among them Oneida Ltd., Merchants National Bank and Trust Co., Utica Mutual Insurance Co., and The New York Design Center.
Deeply involved with Hamilton College, he was first elected to the College’s Board as an Alumni Trustee in 1977, becoming a Charter Trustee in 1981 and a Life Trustee in 1995.
Mr. Harden wed Ann Miller of New York City in 1955, and they were happily married until her death in 1991. The two greatly enjoyed traveling during their 36 years of marriage. In all, Ann Harden contributed greatly to her husband’s happiness as well as his success.
Soon after her death, he established the Ann Miller Harden Prize Scholarship, a painting scholarship at Hamilton College in memory of his wife, who had been a talented artist.
Mr. Harden was a lifelong golfer who belonged to many golf clubs over the years, including the McConnellsville Golf Club, the Hyannisport Club, the Onondaga Golf & Country Club, and the Lost Tree Club. He especially enjoyed playing with his wife, Ann.
Mr. Harden is survived by his sister, Ann Harden Babcock of McConnellsville, N.Y.; two children, Gregory Harden of McConnellsville, N.Y., who is married to Lorie Harden, and Tracey Harden of New York City, who is married to Michael Neill; and five grandchildren, Alexandra Harden, Braden Harden, who is married to Kendra Harden, Maxwell Harden, Blair Harden Neill, and Ross Harden Neill.
A memorial service will be held for Mr. Harden Saturday, Sept. 15, at 4 p.m. at McConnellsville Community Church, Main St., McConnellsville, N.Y.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the McConnellsville Community Church. You may view obituary and send a message of condolence online at www.larobardierefuneralhome.com