Jill Hardesty 1965 – 2015
Jill Marvelle Hardesty, age 50, of Lawrence, Kansas, passed away peacefully at home, September 10, with family and friends by her side. Jill enjoyed a long, well-lived life, filled with adventure and love.
Jill was born March 3, 1965, in Kansas City, Missouri, the daughter of Billy Sherwin Hardesty and Barbara Jean (Stagg) Hardesty. Jill lived in St. Charles, Missouri, Lake of the Ozarks, and Overland Park, Kansas, before moving to Lawrence to attend the University of Kansas. Jill's love of learning and interest in other cultures led her to study a variety of subjects and pursue two semesters of study abroad, in Rennes, France, and Utrecht, Netherlands. She graduated with distinction, earning a BS in Education, a BA in French, and MA in Art History; she was also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society.
Jill met her husband, Michael Shawn Cormack, while attending KU. After several years together, Jill and Mike were married in Florence, Italy, on May 22, 1991, followed by a month-long, adventurous honeymoon traveling through western Europe. Jill and Mike had two spectacularly wonderful daughters: Emily (Emma) Jill Cormack, age 23, and Anna Marvelle Cormack, age 20. Jill's love of beauty and wonder in the world, as well as a finely tuned appreciation of art in all its forms, influenced both daughters: Emma graduated with distinction from KU with a BA in Art History, and Anna is currently studying Industrial Design at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Both girls were the absolute joy and greatest love of Jill's life.
In 1989, Jill began working at the University of Kansas Paleontological Institute, ultimately rising to the position of Deputy Director and Assistant Editor of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. Jill also edited several other paleo-related publications, including serving as the managing editor of the journal PALAIOS from 2007–2013. Jill was a member of the Association of Earth Science Editors (AESE), serving on the board of directors from 2002–2004, and receiving the AESE Award for Outstanding Publication in 2008. Jill's work provided further opportunities to travel abroad to meet paleontologists from around the world. Jill's attention to detail, keen intellect, and friendly personality forged many friendships over the years, and her excellence as editor of the Treatise will serve as one of her lasting legacies.
Jill loved being outdoors and enjoyed walking, gardening, competing in 5K races with her family, running half marathons, practicing yoga, and cycling with Mike. Most of all, she loved spending as much time as possible with her family.
Jill knew how to enjoy life, both in large and small ways. Her naturally optimistic and compassionate personality was apparent to all who met her. She embodied a natural beauty and grace, a limitless sense of generosity, and a genuine kindness that endeared her to everyone she knew. These virtues served her well after her diagnosis of brain cancer.
Jill is survived by her father Billy and wife Sandy, Nokomis, Florida; her mother Barbara and husband Charlie Ward, Claycomo, Missouri; her sister Angela June Kuehn and husband Kevin, Garden City, Missouri; her brother William Teague Hardesty, Nokomis, Florida; and her husband Mike and daughters Emma and Anna, Lawrence, Kansas. A celebration of Jill's life will be held at a later date. It was Jill's wish that all of her family and friends continue to enjoy their lives to the fullest—and go out and play.