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Yale 62

Edward W. ‘Ted’ Hard, Jr.

Born: October 6, 1939
Died: July 16, 2021

Dr. Ted HardDr. Edward “Ted” Hard, Jr., a longtime emergency medical doctor, novelist and photographer passed away peacefully at his home in Eureka, California, surrounded by his wife and children. The Sonoma County newspaper described Ted as a man who “lived with dignity, grace and courage and was a compassionate leader, a dedicated friend and a loving father.”

Ted was born in Buffalo to Mary Hazel and Dr. Edward Wilhelm Hard, Sr. His father was a petroleum geologist during the Texas oil boom. His maternal grandfather, Judge John R. Hazel, administered the oath of office to President Theodore Roosevelt following the assassination of William McKinley in Buffalo.

Raised in Dallas, Ted graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1957. He came to Yale with the class of 1961. He took a year off from Yale 1959-1960 as a special student at Southern Methodist University and returned to Yale to join our class in Fall 1960. He was a resident of J.E., a psychology major and a member of Wolf’s Head.

Ted excelled in athletics. He was voted captain of his freshman basketball team and starred on the varsity football team for 3 years. We remember number 39 as a hard driving full back shredding the Harvard defense and an unrelenting defensive leader in those days of one-platoon football. In addition, Ted played Rugby, then a club sport, while serving as the Rugby Club treasurer.

Ted and family in front of photo showing him (39) with his teammates during undergrad years.

After graduation Ted attended Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, graduating in 1966 with his M.D. He completed his surgical residence at Queens Hospital in Honolulu and Stanford Medical Center. While living in Hawaii, the multi-talented Dr. Hard was cast in several episodes of the original television series “Hawaii Five-O” usually playing the part of an ER doctor.

Ted next served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Navy based in Maryland. He also served a six-month deployment at the NATO airbase in Sicily.

An emergency medicine physician for over 50 years, Dr. Hard was known widely for his integrity, vision, and dedication to improving trauma services throughout Northern California. He was honored several times by his peers and by the State of California for his leadership in the field and his life-saving efforts.

Ted was a prolific author when not practicing medicine. He wrote several novels, including The Hunt for Blackfoot Lion, Oasis and SUM VII (which was published internationally and had film right purchased by Twentieth Century Fox). Most recently, he completed his 4th novel Call Me Ishmael, which will be published this year. Dr. Hard also wrote several short stories, three of which were published in The Saturday Evening Post during the mid-70’s. In recent years he resumed writing short stories and published several in Sonoma Medicine Magazine. Much of his writing focused on his love for the wildlife that captivated him throughout his life.

“Dr. Hard’s life was much more than his work as a doctor,” said Ellie Galvez-Hard his wife, a retired former professor at Sonoma State University who taught bilingual classroom teachers. “He loved beauty,” she said, recalling their time together exploring rivers and mountain trails in Humboldt County. “He loved photography and art. He would take nature photographs while I took long walks.” “He was a very loving kind of a person. He genuinely cared,” she added, “I never heard him say anything negative about anyone. He was so positive.”

Galvez-Hard, who was born and raised in Chile and goes by the nickname “Ellie,” said she met her future husband at the Sutter ER as a patient suffering from whiplash after being rear-ended by a truck. She said she was immediately impressed by him.

“There was this very tall, dignified man,” she said. “I told my son, ‘that doctor is really something.’” Recently divorced, she said she had just moved from Crescent City to Santa Rosa in 1998, a single mother. It turned out Hard was impressed by her, too, because the two exchanged cards, and she returned from a weekend outing to find a voicemail from him. “I had just broken my wrist during a bike ride,” Galvez-Hard said. “He got me treatment and I was treated like a VIP because of him.”

During their first date at a Mexican restaurant in Santa Rosa a short time later, she said, “We sat there for three hours, and he told me about The Hunt for the Blackfoot Lion,” a novel Hard was writing at the time that he finished while on lockdown during the pandemic. The book was finally published in January and became an Amazon bestseller. Reminiscent of “Jaws,” the story is set in Montana and follows an insatiable beast with a taste for humans.

Ted and Ellie married on May 26, 2001 and have been together ever since. Each had children from previous marriages.

Hard wrote articles for the Sonoma County Medical Association, two of which won awards for outstanding article of the year. One, written for the winter 2018 issue, was titled “Touched by the Dragon’s Tongue,” about the horrific Tubbs fire in 2017. The family’s home was spared.

“The sight is reminiscent of photos I have seen of Allied bombing in Dresden toward the end of the Second World War,” Hard wrote in the magazine, describing his former neighborhood of Fountaingrove. Returning to their neighborhood, he wrote, “I count the burned-out homes. The remnants look like corpses. No roofs, no walls, no color. The corner house is gone. The neighbors’ homes behind and across the street are rubble.” The following year, with the children gone and surrounded by devastation, Ted and Ellie relocated to Eureka where he continued his career in emergency medicine until his retirement at age 80 in 2020.

Ted is survived by his wife Ellie and children Elizabeth (“Leisa”) Cohen (Gerald) of Short Hills, N.J.; Michael Hard (Atalani) of San Diego; Paul Alsop of Santa Rosa; Sarah Alsop of Oakland; Sophia Hard (Nadav) of Austin, Texas. He was also survived by 4 grandchildren, Hannah, Ben and Liat Cohen of Short Hills and Evan Alsop of Santa Rosa. His younger sister Dr. Gretchen Jones (Stanley) of Bryan, Texas, also survives him.

Memorial services were held August 12, 2021, at Eureka Faith Center. The family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Cancer Society or the Faith Center Bible Institute.

Comments from classmates confirm the high regard in which he was held. Football captain Paul Bursiek remembered Ted as open, straightforward and, in short, a good guy. “In football his determination was ever present.” Bill Leckonby, from whom Ted usually received the hand off, was equally complementary: “He was a wonderful teammate and guy and one hard-nosed and hard running fullback.”

Thanks are extended to Ted’s daughter, Elizabeth Cohen, whose biography of her father provided the framework for this essay and filled in some gaps in Ted’s active life story. She mentioned that his newest book, ISHMAEL, was published only three weeks ago (late August 2021) on Amazon. She also sent some photos of Ted which our webmaster will post.


– Robert G. Oliver