Shelby County Newspapers employee passes away

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

A beloved employee of Shelby County Newspapers – a “superstar” in her profession – passed away Wednesday, Jan. 4.

Jessica Hardin, 25, a marketing consultant for Shelby County Newspapers Inc., died of complications with pneumonia during her battle with leukemia. She had worked for Shelby County Newspapers since July 2010.

“She was not easy to recruit because she had lots of options because she was so talented,” Publisher Tim Prince said. “After I made the offer, we met again, and she told me she felt like it was a God thing and she was supposed to work here.”

Hardin

During the fall of 2010, Hardin experienced problems with her health, but wasn’t diagnosed with leukemia until October 2010.

“She didn’t know what was wrong, but she didn’t feel well,” Prince said. “The pace she kept even when she wasn’t feeling well was amazing.”

Prince described Hardin as a “superstar,” and someone others wanted to be around as much as possible.

“It’s major loss for all of us that loved her and got to work with her,” he said.

Hardin’s advertising territory covered the southeast corner of the county, from Columbiana to Vincent to Lee Branch on U.S. 280.

Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven first met Hardin three years ago when she called on him in the course of her job.

“Somehow I found out she had a form of leukemia, and I think that was about the time my wife was going through breast cancer,” Niven said. “She had such a loving heart. It was so easy to love her and pray for her. I think we had prayer together the first time she was in my office.”

Niven and his wife, June, held a luncheon for cancer survivors, which Hardin attended.

“She had the strongest, positive view of any person I have ever seen, for her age, for the condition she was in,” Niven said. “She knew God was in control. She wasn’t blaming anybody. It was a fact of life that she had cancer, and she was looking for God to carry her through.

“Her story will inspire other people with the strength she had going through these hard times,” he added.

Norwood Chapel Funeral Home in Fayette will handle Hardin’s funeral arrangements. Visitation will be on Friday, Jan. 6 from 5-8 p.m. at the funeral home. Funeral services will be held Saturday, Jan. 7 at 2 p.m.