Bernard Hargadon

September 8, 2020

CHARLOTTE – Bernie Hargadon lived a rich life in the ways that matter. He loved his family, appreciated other cultures, wrote accounting textbooks, taught college courses, succeeded in business and discovered a lifelong love of the trumpet. Woven through every chapter of his journey was a passion for the common man, a commitment fueled by childhood memories of the Depression.
Bernie died on September 8, 2020 after a short illness. He was surrounded by loved ones and at peace.

Bernie was born on Dec. 27, 1927, in Bryn Mawr, PA, the son of Bernard Joseph and Anna Lancaster Hargadon. He was the second of six children, and they didn’t have much, even less when the Depression struck. He learned early the value of working hard, appreciating what you had, and caring about those who had less.  In 1945, at age 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, playing trumpet in bands aboard aircraft carriers, and graduating from the Naval School of Music. The trumpet became his calling card, literally, as later in life, he’d play taps at military funerals and “Happy Birthday” over the phone to friends and loved ones.

After military service, Bernie graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, later earning an M.B.A. from Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania. Years later, Drexel named him one of its 100 outstanding alums.

He spent eight years in Colombia, South America, and was a founding professor at Universidad EAFIT in Medellin. He also started the Graduate School of Business at The National University of Colombia at Medellin. He learned to speak Spanish fluently and wrote two Spanish- language accounting textbooks. He later taught international business at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He worked for 30-plus years with McKesson Corp., including as President and CEO of its international operation. He served on the boards of San Francisco Symphony, International Visitors Center of the Bay Area, Oakland Museum and Golden Gate University, being awarded their Honorary Doctorate in 1995.

In 1986 in Washington, D.C. he met Jill Dinwiddie, whose political and social conscience was as pronounced as his. They were married in 1990 and after retiring in 1995, they moved to Charlotte in 2003 to be closer to daughters living there.
He is preceded in death by his parents, four siblings and a son, Larry Hargadon who was killed by a drunk driver in 1982.
Bernie is survived by his wife, Jill; four children from his first marriage – Geoff and wife, Patricia La Valley, Somerville, MA, Bob and wife Tracy Kellum, Seattle WA, Louise Hargadon of Charlotte, Dave and wife Suzi, of Woodland, CA,; two stepdaughters – Kirsten Garrett, Dallas,TX, and Penni Stritter, Charlotte; and 14 grandchildren from their blended families –Savannah and Steven Garrett, Sam and Will Reynolds, Ashley Johnston, Stephanie Rogers, Mia Tankoos, Ellis Hargadon, Courtney Button, Joseph, Trevor and Michael Hargadon, Lauren and Bob O’Neill and two great grandchildren. Survivors also include one sister, Judy Heuisler, of Cherry Hill, N.J., and his former wife, Lee Hargadon of Brunswick, Maine.

A private service to celebrate Bernie’s life will be Monday, September 14, 2020, 3:00 PM at First Presbyterian Church, 200 W. Trade St. in Charlotte. Due to COVID restrictions, the service will be live streamed and can be viewed through the church website at For those unable to view the service at that time a recording will be available at the church website for approximately one week afterwards.

A gift in Bernie’s memory can be made to the Bernard J. Hargadon Scholarship, College of Business, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19104; or the Bernard J. Hargadon Scholarship at Golden Gate University, 536 Mission St., San Francisco, Calif. 94105.

The family is deeply grateful for the love and kindness shown by Hospice of the Carolinas and special caregiver Beth Arcilesi.

Bernie stayed on the go. His love of music led to his deep involvement in Opera Carolina, Charlotte Symphony and WDAV classic public radio. His heart for the least of these stirred him to write as many letters to the editor as The Observer would run, often railing against one injustice or another. He held tight to the lessons of the Depression, how FDR saved the country, and how all of us deserve a fair shot at the good life. That is what Bernie had.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

Share your memories & condolences


  • Catherine Moss

    Genuine gentlemen are a rarity, and instinctive gentlemen are practically mythological: Bernie was both. What sweet fortune for me to have known one in Bernie, and sweeter still to have shared my responsibilities with him as fellow trustees for the World Affairs Council of Northern California in San Francisco. One day before a board meeting, I asked him how he came to write accounting texts in Latin America - in Spanish, of course. "In the whole business school, there wasn't a single accounting text. So I wrote one," he answered with customary modesty. "Now, tell me how you are and what you are up to." No doubt after the board meeting, he sent off another letter to the editor to right an injustice. Or practice the trumpet. Thinking of his many kindnesses to me leaves me with a song in my heart.

  • Bea Heggie

    I was saddened to read of Bernie's passing and send my sympathies to Jill and family along with my admiration for a life well lived.

  • Barbara Greensweig

    I met Bernie and his wife Jill years ago while I was painting on location near Sea Ranch. They later visited me in my studio in Santa Rosa, and over the next few years, when purchasing some original art from me, I got to know Bernie a little bit. He was retired at that point, still living in the Bay Area. I recall him telling me wonderful stories about his life. I was envious that he could speak Spanish so well as I have a daughter and her family living in Mexico City and I struggle to learn the language. Bernie was kind, witty, and so intelligent. I continued to hear from him by email, usually at holiday time. My condolences to his lovely wife Jill and his family. May you be comforted by your memories of this distinguished gentleman.

  • Doreen M Mondlak

    My thoughts and prayers are with Jill, Bernie's entire family and especially with Louise, his beautiful daughter and a dear friend of mine. His legacy will live on in so many family members and friends.

  • Ted Craig

    The obituary for Bernie in today’s SF Chronicle brought back wonderful memories of the time at McKesson when he was a mentor and supporter for me. As head of McKesson International he was a compassionate advocate of our global business while brings scrupulously honest in dealings in Asia, South America and the developing world broadly. As Vice Present of research and development for McKesson, I could count on Bernie to fund and encourage projects that fostered McKesson’s international business while delivering nutritious and wholesome food products and food ingredients to our customers around the world. The world is a richer place because of Bernie and his global impact. Certainly a life well lived.
    Ted Craig
    San Francisco

  • martha Groblewski& Harry Creemers

    To Jill and all of Bernie's family,
    We learned so much about Bernie through his obituary. While we know about his love of the trumpet the other aspects of his life we interesting. Our sincere condolences to the whole family that lost this remarkable man. Fenton Place has lost a good neighbor and friend. Martha and Harry

  • Jeff Bialik

    I am saddened to learn of Bernie’s passing and wish to offer his widow and entire family my condolences. Bernie was part of the team that recruited me to Golden Gate University in 1999 and he was steadfast in his leadership, mentorship, and friendship as we worked together during challenging times in the university’s history. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have met and worked with Bernie. He truly made the world a better place. May he Rest In Peace.

  • Jacqueline L. Young

    Jill, I send my love and very deepest sympathy to you and your family for the loss of your/our dear Bernie. What a Renaissance man he was.
    You're being held in my heart. Jackie

  • Carol Henton

    Mr. Hargadon left a lifetime impression on me. I was enrolled in a weekly evening class at Golden Gate University in 1982 when his son Larry died in a car crash on an Oakland California freeway due to a drunk driver. I have long remembered how Mr. Hargadon returned to his role as our (business school) instructor after just one week of absence. He came into the classroom, sat at down at his desk in front, held his head up with one hand, and relayed what had occurred. As working professionals, we all sat in stunned silence. My point in sharing this remembrance is to comment on Mr. Hargadon's strength, his courage, and his resolve to move forward despite the most horrific thing that can happen to a parent -- the death of a child. True resilience. I was happy, by the way, to read in today's San Francisco Chronicle obituary that he was blessed with such a large family -- many children and grandchildren. How nice.

  • Pamela Pearson

    I met Bernie in 2004 when I was volunteering with my twin sons, Tim and Alex, at Erskine Bowles’ campaign office. My love of politics had begun doing similar work for my then-congresswoman, Millicent Fenwick (R NJ). I was sure that this experience would be as inspiring as mine had been, but they found addressing and stuffing envelopes beyond boring. Luckily for all of us, Bernie was seated at our work table, and after introducing himself to all of us, he began talking with the boys about why they were there and what they knew and liked about Mr. Bowles. Bernie had that rare gift of talking to young people without talking down to them, even though he knew much more than they did. Alex and Tim learned a lot about Erskine Bowles from that conversation, and when the candidate himself showed up later in the afternoon, they were so excited and honored to meet him. Tim was so inspired that he wrote one of his college essays on how it felt to work for a candidate and have that person lose the election. Both Tim and Alex continue to be keenly interested in politics today, and I attribute this in part to the positive experience they had on this first afternoon of political activism which they shared with me and Bernie.

    As for me, besides beginning a long, lovely friendship with Bernie, he gave me the greatest gift - introducing me to his wife Jill. She quickly involved me in local politics and before long I was serving with her on the Lillian’s List board of directors. After completing my terms on that board, I joined Jill on the board of Planned Parenthood Health Systems, now Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, on whose board I still serve today, having just completed a two year term as Board Chair. When I would drag my husband John to events, including many for Planned Parenthood, John would always seek out Bernie, as he knew it would be an interesting and enlightening conversation. All of this would not have been possible, or certainly not the same, had I not met Bernie and begun my friendship with Bernie and Jill so many years ago. I know that Bernie enriched so many people’s lives, and he will be dearly missed.

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