Obituary of Tony Hardwick
Longtime Grass Valley resident and man-about-town Tony Hardwick recently left us after a lengthy struggle with cancer. He was 79. Tony was an accomplished jazz musician, glass artist and writer who often expressed his love for the community of Grass Valley and all the friends he had here. Actively involved in the local arts scene, Tony played with many jazz ensembles and had an art glass studio. He enjoyed writing poetry and essays on topical issues.
He was past president of the Nevada County Arts Council and was instrumental in bringing jazz great Wynton Marsalis and his band to Grass Valley. Tony had the honor and thrill of opening the performance with a trumpet solo. He also auditioned and mentored high school students who performed with the Marsalis band, and enjoyed an after-hours jam session with Marsalis musicians and local jazz entertainers.
A very caring person, Tony volunteered with Hospice of the Foothills and provided support to other cancer patients during his own illness. He was born on October 1,1937, in Los Angeles, to Ruth and William Hardwick. He grew up in Toluca Lake, a suburb of Los Angeles, where his father was publicity director for various movie studios and The Max Factor Company. Tony attended University High School in Los Angeles, and graduated from San Francisco State University in English Literature and Creative Writing. He lived in San Francisco and Sausalito during the “Kerouac Era,” and knew many Beat Generation writers and artists. He tended bar at Sausalito’s well-known No Name Bar and Spec’s in North Beach where he’d shoot the breeze with the city’s best known journalists and writers. He lived on his Sausalito houseboat during this time and wrote multiple volumes of poetry.
Tony enjoyed traveling in Mexico and had an art studio in San Miguel de Allende for several years, and a casita in Muleje, Baja Sur, where he loved fishing the Sea of Cortez. He also lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he built his own passive solar adobe house. During the 1990s he lived in San Diego, CA, where he taught English as a second language.
Diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, he outlived the prognosis, while maintaining an active quality of life with his dog Paco and his many friends in Grass Valley and Nevada City. Tony’s dry sense of humor was a hallmark of his personality and he had many memorable quotes, such as: “The only reason I’ve been hanging around is because my ego is so big I can’t imagine the world without me.”
Tony is survived by his son Anthony Hardwick, a Hollywood cinematographer; brother James Hardwick and sister-in-law Nancy Hardwick; nephews, Tyler and Nicholas Hardwick; and grand-nephew Elliott Hardwick. Tony’s family would like to thank the many friends who visited him and offered their loving support during his last days. A celebration of Tony’s life will be planned in Grass Valley.
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