Brunswick, ME — Edward (Ned) Perry Harding of Brunswick and Georgetown Island, Maine, died February 2, at Maine Medical Center in Portland, surrounded by his family. Born in Boston in 1923, the sixth of seven children of Francis Austin Harding and Dorothy Sherburne Warner, Ned attended Dexter School in Brookline and Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University, class of 1945.
Ned was a natural hands-on leader, volunteer, entrepreneur, and benefactor of and within communities he had lived. He followed his passion and talent for photography by starting his career with Time-Life in New York City. More than 50 years ago he co-founded the still extant Harding Glidden Photography Studio in Dedham, Massachusetts, where he was lead photographer, shooting hundreds of society weddings and family portraits throughout the Northeast.
In the late 1950s Ned became part owner and President of Edson Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts, an internationally renowned marine hardware and steering systems manufacturer. One of the country's oldest corporations, Edson designed the 1905 Schooner America's steering system, beginning a long association with America's Cup defenders.
A firm believer in free enterprise, Ned took a work break and volunteered his services for more than a year as Assistant Director of National Volunteers for the 1960 Nixon for President Campaign in Washington, D.C. Ned held the following positions back in his home state of Maine: Head of the Maine Nixon for President Committee and Maine United Citizens for Nixon-Agnew, Chairman of the Maine Committee for Re-election of the President, Maine Delegation Chairman and Presidential Elector for Maine at the Republican National Convention in 1972.
Ned got back into the photography business with the purchase of Bicknell Photo Service, a 12-person photo finishing operation on Free Street in Portland, Maine in 1964. His commitment to his employees, vision for the future and high production standards ensured the company’s success. When he sold this business to Konica Corporation in 1993, Ned had more than 1,200 employees with market share second only to Kodak Corporation.
Committed to building the business community in Maine, Ned served on the committee to build the original Cumberland County Civic Center and was a director of the Portland Chamber of Commerce and creator of its monthly program format, Eggs & Issues. His name is listed on an entrance plaque at the Portland Museum of Art as a friend of the Charles Shipman Payson Building Campaign in 1983.
Immediately following his retirement, Ned volunteered as Interim Director of the Maine Maritime Museum for two years and for the next five years as a member of its Board of Directors, leading its Capital Campaign in 2002.
A lifelong competitive sailor, Ned navigated the Bermuda races several times and participated in hundreds of races from Buzzards Bay to Eggemoggin Reach. He was a member of the Harraseeket and Portland Yacht Clubs and was perpetual commodore of the Knubble Bay Yacht Club. He was also a member of the Cumberland Club in Portland, as well as an active member of the National Association of Manufacturers.
Ned is survived by his wife, Katherine (Kathy) Harding; three daughters, N.H. Rep. Anna Lawrence (Laurie) Harding and husband, Dr. Peter Mason, of Lebanon, NH, Susan and husband, Nick Preston, of Campton, NH, Linda Harding and husband, Hugh Martinez, of Newburyport, MA; two sons, Edward (Chip) and wife, Madeleine Harding, of South Berwick, ME, Michael Harding and wife, Gretchen Bear, of Seattle, WA; two stepchildren, Peter and wife, Sarah Pulkkinen, of Bronxville, NY, Kristen and husband, Dennis Bailey, of South Freeport, ME; fifteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, William (Bill) and wife, Jacqueline Harding, of Palm Beach, FL and Marion, MA.
In celebration of Ned's love of trees, his family suggests planting a tree for him in your backyard or neighborhood. Donations may also be made to the National Arbor Day Foundation.
ARRANGEMENTS: Plans for a Celebration of Ned's life are pending.