Helen Jo (Taylor) Hardwick was born July 8, 1939, in Wichita Falls, TX, to Archibald and Julia (Peeler) Taylor and passed away at home in Tulsa, OK, on February 19, 2023, at the age of 83.
Beginning in 1957, Helen Jo attended the University of Oklahoma where she pledged Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. In May 1985, she completed her college education at the University of Tulsa receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In 1960, Helen Jo married Thomas G. Graves and they had two sons, Taylor and David. Tom died in May 1971, in an automobile accident. On February 26, 1972, Helen Jo was set-up on a blind date with Jim Hardwick. They were married on November 4, 1972, and recently celebrated their 50th anniversary.
For over 20 years, Helen Jo was director of marketing and public relations for Resonance Center for Women, serving in that capacity until she retired in 2007. She was active in many Tulsa community organizations. In 1995 and 1996, she served as president of the Tulsa chapter of the Association for Women in Communications and received their Saidie Award for lifetime achievement in 2008. Helen Jo was also president of the Tulsa Garden Center for two years, a member of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women and a member of the Dining Divas. She was active in the Junior League, the Tulsa Ballet, Philbrook Museum of Art, the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author committee of the Tulsa City-County Library and the Ronald McDonald House. She was honored with the 1999 Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Tulsa, the AWC Newsmaker Award and the Tulsa Women’s Foundation Pinnacle Award.
Helen Jo was a loving and loyal friend, maintaining countless friendships throughout the entirety of her life. She was a wonderful hostess who especially loved baking and prided herself on making all sorts of cookies. The children of her friends called her the “Cookie Lady,” asking their parents at Christmas time and on their birthdays where their cookies were.
Helen Jo is preceded in death by her parents and her first husband, Thomas G. Graves. She is survived and will be very much missed by her husband, James C.T. Hardwick; her sons and daughters-in-law, Taylor and Molly Graves, David and Heather Graves; her daughter and son-in-law, Megan and Francesco Leone; her sister, Mary Ruth Jones; and her grandchildren, Reyn, Anna, Harrison and Harper Graves; as well as many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews. The family would also like to thank Life Senior Services, Right at Home and Miller Hospice for their special care of Helen Jo.
A funeral service will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church Monday, February 27, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in Helen Jo’s memory to the Life Senior Services, 5330 East 31st Street, Suite 800, Tulsa, OK, 74135 or to Alzheimer’s Association, Oklahoma Chapter, 6660 S. Sheridan Rd., Suite 202, Tulsa, OK, 74133 (or online at alz.org/Oklahoma).
Ninde Brookside, 918-742-5556, www.ninde.com