- Former State Senator Floyd L. Harding passed peacefully from this mortal life on Sunday, April 23, 2017, at a healthcare facility in Ocala, Florida, following a brief illness. Floyd was born on August 26, 1923, in Albion, Maine, to Judson and Grace (Hunt) Harding.
He was the eleventh of twelve children in that household and was the last surviving member of his generation in that family. As a young man, Floyd began his life's journey on paths seldom traveled. Earning a scholarship from Colby College, he was the first of his family to attend college. His college career was interrupted by World War II. He entered the United States Army in November 1943. While serving with the First Army Division, Floyd was taken prisoner during the early days of the Battle of the Bulge, at the Ardennes in December, 1944, during the height of the German counteroffensive. As a POW, he was interred at Dresden, Germany. The Allies firebombed that city in February, 1945, while Harding was imprisoned there, an event chronicled in Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, a barracks-mate of Floyd.
Following his discharge from the U.S. Army in November, 1945, Floyd entered the Boston University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1949. Clifford McIntyre, as chairman of the Board of Directors of Maine Potato Growers (MPG) recruited Floyd to relocate from central Maine to Presque Isle, where Floyd maintained his lifelong home. Floyd worked for MPG as its assistant general counsel until 1952, when he began his practice of law in an office at 429 Main Street in Presque Isle. That practice of law is continued today at the same location by Floyd's son Alan.
In 1951, Floyd married Beverly Carmichael, the daughter of a local potato farmer, who was employed as the municipal court registrar. Together they had four children, Dwight, Alan, Mark and Ronda, before Beverly died from injuries sustained in an automobile collision in 1961. In 1963, Floyd married Jean Cray Donovan, a widow with four children, Jeremiah, Daniel, Dolores, and Dolly. Together, Floyd and Jean had a daughter, Linda, bringing the total combined family to nine children.
Floyd was elected to the Maine Senate in 1964. As a freshman State Senator, Floyd was selected to become majority leader. He was re-elected in 1968 and 1970, when he served as the Senate minority leader. While in the State Senate, Floyd championed the causes of Aroostook County and its people. He was proudest of his work to fund the Aroostook Residential Center, which later became part of the Central Aroostook Association, serving developmentally disabled youth and adults. He led the efforts to obtain continued funding, including construction bonds, for the Northern Maine Vocational Institute (later Northern Maine Community College) and the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
Active in local civic affairs, Floyd was a charter member of the Presque Isle Kiwanis Club, which he helped establish in 1952 and became president in 1957. He was a member of the Live Wire Club of the Presque Isle Chamber of Commerce, of which he was president in 1961. He was a lifelong member of the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars and was a member of the Grant Memorial United Methodist Church. He received the Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Following the closure of the Presque Isle Air Base in 1961, Floyd was one of a ten-member revitalization committee, whose vision led to the establishment of a vocational education center in the former shops and barracks on the base. This would later evolve into the Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute and then the Northern Maine Community College. In 2006, Floyd's commitment to vocational education for the youth of this area was further evidenced by the establishment by he and his wife, Jean, of an endowment for scholarships for students attending this college.
Floyd was predeceased by his wife Jean, their daughter Dolly, and their grandson Derrick Donovan. He is survived by eight children, Jeremiah Donovan, Daniel (Nancy) Donovan, Dwight, Alan (Mary), Dolores (Bruce) Roope, Mark, Ronda (James) Stone, and Linda (Donald Cormier) Dunn, eleven grandchildren, Kristi (Jason) Moir, Jody (Woody) Shaw, Danielle (Benjamin) Johnson, Darren (Maranda) Donovan, Jessica, Erica (Mac) McKnight, Judson, Samantha Stone, Shannon Stone (Matt Dufour), Nicholas Dunn, Dexter Dunn, and seventeen great-grandchildren, Lane Moir, Maren Moir, Gabriella Donovan, Amelia Donovan, Theodore "Teddy" Donovan, Willow Dufour, Toria Tarbox, Alannah Tarbox, Elisha Tarbox, Megan McKnight, Brandon McKnight, Caitlin McKnight, Shelby Shaw, Jessica Shaw, Samantha Shaw, Maia Johnson and Derrick Johnson.
Services will be held on Friday, May 19, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., at the Grant Memorial Methodist Church, at 79 Fleetwood Street in Presque Isle, officiated by Rev. Chris Dare. Friends are invited to meet with the family from 10:00 a.m. until the beginning of the service. Interment will be at 1:00 p.m. at the Maine Veterans Cemetery in Caribou, Maine. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Floyd and Jean Harding Scholarship Fund, c/o Sue Bernard, Development Office, Northern Maine Community College, 30 Edgemont Drive, Presque Isle, ME 04769. Online condolences may be expressed at www.duncan-graves.com.
Published on  May 13, 2017