Lt. Colonel Cletus Audell Hardin (US Army Retired)

May 31, 1932 ~ October 31, 2020 (age 88)


The family of Cletus Audell Hardin announce with sadness the passing of our father in Seymour, Texas.  Funeral services will be held at the First Baptist Church in Seymour, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 2 PM, with Pastor Dillon Fox officiating. Visitation will be from 11 to 12:30  p.m. at the Archer Funeral Home in Seymour.

Clete was born a few miles east of Seymour, Texas, on May 31, 1932. He was the first of three sons born to Plenna and Ethel Hardin. Around 1935, the family moved west and settled near Vera, Texas, where he spent time hoeing and picking cotton on the farm and playing football and basketball for the Vera Pilots. He graduated from Texas A&M in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army at Fort Hood. Clete met and married Barbara Sue Squires on May 14, 1954, near Fort Knox, Kentucky, as he continued training as an aviator. They raised their family of five children on Army bases from Germany and Italy to many across the U.S. During his military career, Clete’s service included research and development of radio-controlled drones in Vincenza, Italy, in 1961, and from 1966 - 1967, he piloted Huey gunship and transport helicopters in Vietnam.  In 1968, Clete was sent to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas where he graduated from the Command and General Staff College.  Lt. Colonel Hardin then began instructing officers across the USA and 95 allied nations at this same college. He compiled 3,789 flight hours with 453 hours of combat time, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Valorous Unit Award, the Army Air Medal with twelve Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart, among other medals. 

Lt. Colonel Hardin retired in 1973 after 20 years of proud military service. He moved his family to Seymour and began his second career growing wheat and cattle ranching. Clete applied new techniques to his farming practices. His improvements to his Kleingrass pasture significantly increased his forage production. Together, Barbara and Clete ushered their children off to college one by one. Clete was a well-known character at his children’s sporting events leaving no deserving referee unsinged. He also spent many years assisting Robb and Kevin at Cimarron Commodities and greatly cherished their friendship and comradery.

Clete is lovingly remembered by his five children and their spouses, daughter Elaine Beck and husband Kent of Copper Canyon; son Tony Hardin and wife Cecila of McKinney; daughter Sherri Dowhower and husband Steve of Vernon; son Randy Hardin and wife Laurie of Frisco; and daughter Cindy Phebus and husband Butch of Prosper.

Also left to cherish his memory are Clete’s 14 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, Josh and Marcy Beck and Joe; Elizabeth and Ryan Garriott and Lucy, Henry and Olive; Adam and Carly Beck and Evan and Annie; Jace Beck; Ty, Jacob and Eli Hardin; Rachel and Clayton O’Neal and Micah, Landon, and Averie; Drew and Sheridan Dowhower; Davis and Meredith Hardin, Brandon Edwards; and Dani Travis.

He is survived by his brother Ron Hardin and wife Geri of Wichita Falls, sisters-in-law Carol Hardin of Seymour and Judy Hicks and husband Thomas Neal of Hardinsburg, Kentucky, and many nieces and nephews.

Clete is preceded in death by his parents, Plenna and Ethel, and his brother Bobby Hardin.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation 636 Morris Turnpike Suite 3A, Short Hills, NJ 07078 US

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lt. Colonel Cletus Audell Hardin (US Army Retired), please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
November 7, 2020

2:00 PM
First Baptist Church (Seymour, Texas)

November 7, 2020

11:00 PM to 12:30 PM
Archer Funeral Home
111 N Cedar St
Seymour, TX 76380

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