Edward Perry Harding, 90: Lifelong leader, photographer, competitive sailor

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BRUNSWICK — Edward Perry Harding, 90, of Brunswick, died Feb. 2 at Maine Medical Center in Portland, surrounded by his family.

Harding was born in Boston, Mass., Feb. 8, 1923, the sixth of seven children of Francis Austin Harding and Dorothy Sherburne Warner. He attended Dexter School in Brookline and Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Mass. He graduated from Harvard University, Class of 1945.

Harding was a natural hands-on leader, volunteer, entrepreneur and benefactor of and within the 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, Mass., where he was lead photographer, shooting hundreds of society weddings and family portraits throughout the Northeast.

In the late 1950s, he became part owner and president of Edson Corporation in Boston, an internationally renowned marine hardware and steering systems manufacturer.

A firm believer in free enterprise, Harding 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. 

He got back into the photography business with the purchase of Bicknell Photo Service in Portland. 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, he had more than 1,200 employees with market share second only to Kodak Corporation.

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.

A lifelong competitive sailor, he navigated the Bermuda races several times and participated in hundreds of races from Buzzards Bay to Eggemoggin Reach.

He is survived by his wife Katherine Harding; three daughters, Anna Lawrence Harding and husband Peter Mason, Susan and husband Nick Preston and Linda Harding and husband Hugh Martinez; two sons, Edward and wife Madeleine Harding and Michael Harding and wife Gretchen Bear; two stepchildren, Peter and wife Sarah Pulkkinen and Kristen and husband Dennis Bailey; fifteen grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and brother, William and wife Jacqueline Harding.

In celebration of Harding’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.

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