Louis William McHardy passed away on May 1st, 2020, at Flannery Oaks Nursing Home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Louis graduated from Catholic High School in 1947, Louisiana State University (LSU) in 1951 with his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences, and in 1956 with his Master’s Degree in Social Sciences. In 1951, Louis was drafted and served as a 2nd Lieutenant in Germany during the Korean War. Following his two years of active duty service, he remained in the Reserves for 30 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.
Louis became the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer for East Baton Rouge Parish and participated in the oversight of the design and construction of the Juvenile Detention Facility, which still stands today. In 1964, Louis was selected to become the Administrator of the Juvenile Circuit Court, City of St. Louis.
In 1972, Louis was selected to become the Executive Director of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Dean of the National College of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, headquartered at the University of Nevada – Reno; positions he held until his retirement in 1999. During his tenure at the University of Nevada – Reno, Louis was awarded The Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws, May 16, 1987. The development and continuous improvement of the juvenile and family court system, in this country and elsewhere, was a life-long devotion and passion of his.
Hon. Thomas Hornsby
NCJFCJ president, 1996-1997
I am so saddened to hear of the death of our wonderful Dean and friend, Lou McHardy. When I was appointed to the Circuit Court by the Illinois Supreme Court in December of 1972, one of my assignments was to the Juvenile Court. In the summer of 1973, I attended a course for new judges. At that time, the NCJFCJ shared space in the National Judicial College building. As I was walking down the hallway, I saw a sign for the NCJFCJ office. I entered the office and had the privilege of meeting Lou and he explained about the programs and mission of the NCJFCJ. As usual, he was a kind, pleasant, and courteous gentleman and a pleasure to be with. I was hooked and signed up for the NCJFCJ Spring College…
…In those days, before our judges were sent on the road by the NCJFCJ to train juvenile and family court judges, we were selected by the NCJFCJ to attend a one week course where we were taught presentation techniques and interviewed by university psychologists and staff who then made recommendations as to whether we were suitable to train our judges. During that one week course, I had the pleasure of meeting my dear friend and colleague, Judge Ernestine Gray. We trained together, passed the test, and began our journey on the road, under the direction and tutelage of Jim Toner, Training Director of the NCJFCJ.
At every step along the way, Dean McHardy, Jim Toner and our fantastic staff of tirelessly dedicated people working to improve the best interest and welfare of children and their families in the juvenile and family courts of our country, not once was it ever said to me “Judge, we can’t do that”. Instead, they did everything necessary to make my job easier as I was sent to train and present all over the country as a member of the NCJFCJ and eventually as the NCJFCJ President. At the end of my term as president, I assembled the task and thanked them personally for assisting me during the year.
I am happy, thankful, and proud that NCJFCJ is following in the tradition of Dean Louis McHardy.
As Lou always said,
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Dermody Properties
Lou Hardy was a bigger than life figure to the Children’s Cabinet… In fact, he was a member of the founding Board of Directors in 1985. In those early years, every Board member was responsible for the smallest detail. While the Cabinet today that serves over 10,000 children and families on a $20M budget, in 1985 the organization was a new, struggling, public-private partnership and Lou was at the center of its growth.
His leadership, thoughts, and patience gave us, as Board members, the reassurance and confidence to try something different. Lou was always the steady voice of reason, always saying, “don’t look back – look forward”. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, under Lou’s leadership, was always there to pick us up when we stumbled. Many times he reached into his own pocket to help us. He recognized that by filling in gaps of services to children and family that there is a great benefit to the entire judicial system and the entire community.
The code name for all of this was “early intervention”. Everything we touched was based on the premise that the quicker we get to a family, the quicker they will respond to help and the less the impact on the judicial system. In those early years, we even tried to take the Children’s Cabinet national (ie: Children’s Cabinet, USA). When we met with judges in other areas throughout the country it was often Lou that set up those meetings and dialogues. Lou McHardy was truly a member of the “Greatest Generation” and will always be remembered for fighting to keep children and families safe.
Thank you for everything, Lou… God bless.