Beloved Community Leader & Talented Photojournalist dies at 71


Hardy, Van Gordon, age 71, of Somerville, passed away peacefully from pancreatic cancer at Cambridge Hospital on Tuesday October 26th. Born in Effingham, IL, on November 28, 1949.  Van was a world traveler and lifelong labor & housing rights activist who spent many years as a union organizer for Service Employees International Union & American Federation of Teachers. Van was a talented photojournalist whose most published works include images from Haiti and Central America. His most profound work includes the documentation of the beginnings of the organization of US-El Salvador Sister Cities during the El Salvadoran Civil War. Most recently, he served as a community leader in Somerville as a member of Union United and the Neighborhood Council. One of his proudest accomplishments was the success of the negotiations for a Community Benefit Agreement on behalf of the people of Somerville. He was passionate about plants, gardening & cooking, as an avid member of the Concord Avenue Community Garden & the Tkanye Communal House. Van was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth S. Hardy and Winona M. (Van Alst) Hardy. He is survived by his daughters, Natasha Hardy, Leigh Wassel (Hardy) Beck and her husband Carl Beck, and Kim Wassel Hardy and her husband Philippe Hamer. He is also survived by his siblings; brothers Roger Hardy and his wife Jane, Scott Hardy and his sister Cathy Hardy Dunlop and her husband Dean Dunlop. Van is survived by three nephews J.W. Hardy, Van Hardy, and Kasidy Hardy and two nieces Miranda Taylor and Deanna Dunlop. He will be lovingly remembered for his epic stories, quiet wisdom & sharp wit.

A Graveside Service will be held on Saturday November 27th at noon at Park Cemetery in Tilton, NH. 

A Celebration of Van’s Life will be held Sunday November 28th on his 72nd birthday. RSVP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

In lieu of flowers, we invite you to dedicate a donation to the “Van Hardy Somerville For All” Fund via the Community Action Agency of Somerville: