Jane Boursaw and Kathy Hardy on a hike at Lighthouse Park | Jane Boursaw Photo
Jane Boursaw and Kathy Hardy on a hike at Lighthouse Park | Jane Boursaw Photo

It’s always worrisome when you hear about an accident, but especially when you live in a small community like the Old Mission Peninsula where you know everyone. When I heard about the accident at the corner of Center Road and East Shore Road yesterday, I immediately started praying for the people involved, because that’s what I do.

It wasn’t long before I learned that someone had died at the scene, and that someone was my good friend, Kathy Hardy. I don’t know the details, but she had been riding her bike on Center Road, and a vehicle ran into her. She was likely going to her job as a charge nurse at Foster Family Community Health Center (the old Osteopathic Hospital). She loved that bike, and often rode it to and from work.

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In fact, she rode that bike all over the Old Mission Peninsula. She lived south of me on Bluff Road a few miles, but I would often see her riding down roads on the far reaches of the Peninsula. If you live out here, chances are good that you probably saw her riding her bike, too. I bet she smiled and waved if she saw you.

She asked me once who owned the horses on the corner of Kroupa Road and Center Road, because every time she rode by, she felt like they were her horses (as did so many OMPers who drove by that corner – I like to think of them as community horses). She was so excited to learn that they belonged to my brother and sister-in-law, Dean and Laura Johnson, and that their names were Sugar and Summer. After that, she always stopped and said hi to Summer and Sugar on her ride-abouts around the OMP.

Kathy was a couple of years ahead of me in school. I think she graduated in 1976, and I graduated in 1978. She told me her maiden name was Carboneau, and I kind of remember hearing her name back then. I didn’t look her up in the Year Book until today, and there she was, that same sweet smile she had every time I saw her in recent years. According to the Year Book, her activities included the Pines, National Honor Society, Pep Club, and both band and orchestra for all four of her high school years.

That’s when I realized that we probably played in orchestra together for at least one year – me as a sophomore and her as a senior. I can’t remember what instrument she played, but I have a knack for looking at people and guessing their instruments. I’m guessing either flute or clarinet for Kathy. If you know, tell us in the comments section at the bottom of this story.

It doesn’t surprise me that she was in Pep Club, because she continued to pep everyone up throughout her life.

Kathy Carboneau Hardy; The Pines Year Book, 1976
Kathy Carboneau Hardy; The Pines Year Book, 1976

Kathy and I have done yoga together at the historic Neahtawanta Inn for many years. Our Wednesday night class with teacher Sally Van Vleck is a devoted, close-knit group who’ve been together for years. Before class, we always have a check-in time, and Kathy was always this bright light of warmth, love and laughter. She usually had a funny story to tell as part of her check-in.

A few years ago, Kathy sent a picture to the yogis of her doing a tree pose on one of her travels – I think from Italy. Since then, some of us have been sending pictures of tree poses to the group. I can’t find Kathy’s at the moment, but here’s me doing one in Yosemite, inspired by Kathy, where I traveled with my daughter after Tim passed.

Jane doing a tree pose at Yosemite, inspired by Kathy Hardy | Marissa Boursaw Photo
Jane doing a tree pose at Yosemite, inspired by Kathy Hardy | Marissa Boursaw Photo

During the pandemic, a few of us started hiking together on the trails out at the north end of the Peninsula. It was our way of staying connected in the fresh air and calmness of the woods. When the weather was a little dicey and others decided not to walk, I could always count on Kathy to meet me out there in any kind of weather. That’s when I knew I’d found a soul sister, because I, too, love to hike in all kinds of weather. It didn’t matter if it was raining. We took our umbrellas and walked a couple extra miles, talking about everything under the sun (and rain).

Here we are on one of those rainy hikes … note the cheery smiles…

Jane Boursaw and Kathy Hardy on a hike at Old Mission Point Park | Jane Boursaw Photo
Jane Boursaw and Kathy Hardy on a rainy hike at Old Mission Point Park | Jane Boursaw Photo

Kathy, I am still processing that you are no longer on this earthly plane, and I probably will be for a while. Having lost Tim in January, I know these things take time.

I will miss our long hikes, our yoga sessions, and our funny (and sometimes gripey) texts. I’ll miss seeing you tooling down the OMP roads on your bike. And I’ll especially miss your sweet smile and always-cheery attitude about life. I will honor you, Kathy, by carrying that forward in my own life and hiking a few extra miles when I’m on the north end.

Instead of goodbye, Tim always said, “See you in the trees.” I will definitely see you in the trees, Kathy, and on the other side when I get there. Can’t wait to hike with you again.

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A lifelong resident of the Old Mission Peninsula, Jane grew up on a cherry farm (Johnson Farms), married the boy next door (Tim Boursaw), and raised two kids there (Will and Marissa). Her 35-year career as a photojournalist includes bylines with the New York Times and Ladies' Home Journal, and interviews with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. But she loves writing about the OMP most of all.

41 COMMENTS

  1. Beautiful tribute Jane. I’m so sorry for your loss. I didn’t know her personally, but cannot stop thinking of her and her family and the sudden grief they are dealing with. My heart goes out to her family and everyone involved.

  2. As commented above – beautiful tribute Jane. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend. I only met Kathy once recently but was looking forward to welcoming her into the Old Mission Women’s Club as one of our newest members. We will miss her infectious smile and joy for life. Living on Bluff too, I’m sure I must have seen her riding her bike many times. My heart also goes out to her family.

  3. I am completely crushed by the loss of our dear Kathy, as I know everyone is who knew her. She lit up a room. As Jane said, her check-ins at yoga were often hilarious and always interesting. Thank you for this article, Jane. Each little thing we do for each other in this grieving process helps us to go on, to accept this loss, and to live our lives in a way that honors Kathy. That would be: looking on the bright side. This week’s yoga classes are focusing on Kathy and on self-healing. I keep sighing, trying to relive my heavy heart. Sending love to her family.

  4. Excellent tribute Jane. Kathy would always say HI to Deb and me when she rode by our house. We will miss seeing her riding on Bluff Rd.

  5. There I was thinking I didn’t know this woman but, in reading your tribute and seeing her picture, I totally recognize her as the woman who rode up Ladd Rd. frequently early in the day. Always we would wave and smile, she in her zen on her bike and I in mine, in my garden at Old Mission Flowers. She touched my life although we never spoke.

  6. I, too, recognize Kathy from her high school picture. So sorry for this loss – for you, Jane, and the whole community.

  7. A beautiful tribute, Jane! Such a tragic loss for her family and friends in your wonderfully strong OMPS community! My heart is with you all! ❤️ Patty Olson

  8. Thank you for writing this. Everyone has friends who are cheerful and kind, but Kathy was ALWAYS cheerful and kind. What a spirit we will all miss terribly.

  9. Oh no. Crushed. Kathy and I running Bluff repeatedly when our knees were younger.
    Thanks Jane. What can we do for her fam?

  10. Beautiful tribute to a beautiful person. Kathy and I were both oboe players all thru Jr high and high school. She had a beautiful smile and always wanted to get caught up on the latest family news. She was a wonderful nurse and we are going to miss seeing that special smile she always had.

  11. Kathy was just pure sunshine and rainbows! Always so positive about everything. When you close your eyes you can just picture her bright smile and hear her giggle. She was such a good mom. The made the word a better place. ❤️

  12. Thank you for trying to put Kathy into words…she certainly loved life, biking, people and animals, to name just a few! There are no words to express the void that is left from Kathy’s passing. All I can think to do to help my heavy heart is try to “Be A Kathy” for the days I have left.

  13. I had the privilege of not only working with Kathy but having her as a dear friend. She was filled with kindness and goodness and shared it with everyone she came in contact with. I feel blessed to have had her in my life. I will miss her. Jane, your tribute to Kathy was beautiful . Thanks so much.

  14. Kathy was a year ahead of me and I always thought she was so nice and so beautiful. She married her high school sweetheart Jim and you always saw them together laughing and smiling and enjoying life. I loved reading more about her, what a lovely tribute from you.

  15. What a beautiful tribute, Jane. I met her when our kids were at Old Mission Elementary. I would often see her when I was riding my bike on the Peninsula. Bluff Road ~ the most beautiful road to ride! I will always think of her when I ride on the Peninsula.

  16. Thank you for the lovely tribute. It’s nice to feel a bit closer to Kathy than just the many nods/waves we shared while riding past each other on Bluff Road. Her family and friends must really be hurting.

  17. Thank you for that wonderful tribute. Kathy was a year behind me in high school and I did not know her that well, but she always seemed so nice. I am so sad that this has happened.

  18. Jane, thank you for your touching thoughts and information about your dear friend Kathy. The experiences you shared and deep friendship you wrote of brings, not only a personal profile, a glimpse of the warmth and laughter she gave to many. I’m sorry for your loss.

  19. I’m so sorry to hear Kathy is gone from us. Friends in high school. She was an inspiration for me to go into nursing after graduating. Kathy was always a bright light in the darkness leading the way for others to follow. Rest In Peace Kathy. Thank you for being my friend and my light.

  20. I am so sorry to learn of this tragedy. You can’t forget Kathy’s smiling face. I worked with Kathy’s mom years ago. Beautiful tribute Jane. Thank you.

  21. Jane, this is such a beautiful tribute for an amazing gal. I remember Kathy from high school. Her light always shined bright and warm.

  22. I had the pleasure of working with Kathy for many years and your tribute to her is right on ! Always smiling and motivated and ready for anything! I am deeply saddened by her passing and my prayers go out to her family and friends. RIP Kathy you will be missed

  23. Such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person. Our daughters attended elementary school, middle school and high school together and played soccer together. Kathy was always there cheering all the kids on. She always had a smile on her face. I also lost my husband a few years ago unexpectedly and I know how tough it will be on Jim and her daughters. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

  24. Forgive me for posting, since I don’t know you or Kathy. But I can share your pain and that of all who loved Kathy. My husband was killed riding his bicycle on a beautiful October day in CT in 2013 by a hit-and-run driver, who was eventually brought to justice. I am sure your words and photos mean the world to all who knew and loved Kathy. I will think of the two of you in all future tree poses.

  25. Kathy and I followed each other on and off since nursing school . We met up again at Copper Ridge Surgery Center . My thoughts of Kathy are kindness, excellence, upbeat and a very thoughtful and caring person . She would be the nurse I would like to care for me . 🙏 for her family and that they somehow find a way to deal with this terrible loss.

  26. Jane, Thank you for sharing a window into your beautiful friendship with Kathy. I knew her from high school and it’s good to hear that she lived her life with the smile and zesty personality as I remember her.

  27. Thank you for beautifully describing who Kathy was – cheerful, kind, positive. I met Kathy when her daughter and my son were in school together at OMPS. She was a shining light. My heart aches for her family.

  28. Jane…

    I knew Kathy from the GT health Department. Your words were so heart felt. She was a great person.
    Did you work for ATT? I read what you wrote to Bill Miner. If you did, he said to tell you what you wrote was heart felt and to say hello.

  29. In spite of a 12-year age difference, Kathy and I bonded over running. W registered for every road race available. A proud memory is running the first-ever Bay Shore Marathon 10k on Old Mission Peninsula over 40 years ago. And we followed with many more. Time passed and my three daughters entered Old Mission School and Kathy started her own family. Still we would see Kathy running or cycling along Bluff Road and we would stop to catch up. Kathy is fixed as one of my best memories!

  30. Kathy was the fellow nurse you would be lucky to share your day with. Her upbeat caring attitude for patients as well as coworkers brought a shining light to anyone’s day. Our kids went to school together and we found we had many mutual friends that I see posting here. My heart breaks for Jim and her daughters. They are in my prayers. Thank you for writing such a heartfelt tribute, Jane. I am so sorry for the loss of such a wonderful wife, mom, nurse and friend. You are all in my prayers.

  31. I am so incredibly sorry and sad to hear about Kathy, but very proud of her and the way she impacted the lives of others. Sending prayers to the whole family. Thank you for writing and sharing this, Jane.

  32. I was there when my good friend Jim met a beautiful young woman named Kathy in his English class their senior year in HS. It was soon apparent that they were falling for each other fast. Jim played football. Kathy was on the pom pom team leading the Trojan band. Those Thirlby Field football games on Friday night were exciting for both of them and they spent a long time on the phone after those games talking about the game and everything else under the sun. They were a great match and a perfect couple. The relationship blossomed while they attend NMC together. The rest is history. They married in 1978 and had a wonderful 44 years of marriage. They had two beautiful daughters Suzanne and Jacqueline that were the center of their lives. Kathy was a very special person. She worked hard, biked hard and lived life to the fullest. She was well known, liked and respected. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Her smile, her energy and enthusiasm for life will live on in the heart and memories of those she touched.

  33. Just learned of Kathy’s passing. Thank you for sharing your beautiful tribute.
    I have so many memories of nursing school together, and many memories of the events held by the company our husband’s worked at together. My thoughts and prayers are with Jim and his daughters.

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