Categorized | Local Perspectives

EDITORIAL: Remembering James E. Hardiman

On June 10, 2012 Perth Amboy lost one of the last fixtures of the past. James E. Hardiman, the owner of Seaman’s Pharmacy on Smith Street in Perth Amboy (now the site of Rite Aid) passed away.

Carolyn Maxwell: Walking into Seaman’s Pharmacy was like entering into a Norman Rockwell painting. (If you are not familiar with Norman Rockwell, I suggest you Google the name!) I remember all of the old medical instruments displayed in the cases and how easygoing and soft spoken Jim was. When my late father, Rockwell Maxwell Sr. was honored by the Anguilla Society, Jim said he would definitely attend that affair. Jim told me if he had a bad day in the store as soon as my father walked in he would immediately say something to cheer him up, “Mr. Maxwell always knew what to say to me. He knew what to say to bring me out of a bad mood.”

James E. Hardiman, April 24, 1930 - June 10, 2012. *photo submitted

I remember when I called Jim Hardiman to inform him of my father’s passing. He was very shocked and you could hear him choking back tears. When he came to the viewing he stopped and looked at my dad in the casket and said my dad should not be lying there. Jim was so overcome at the viewing that he started to cry and quiver. I remember wrapping my arms around him giving him a hug and a kiss. Jimmy paying last respects to my dad meant so much my family and Jim’s passing is very emotional for me.

After Jim closed down the pharmacy, I would periodically see him zooming around in his sports car. In my eyes it seemed like he had reversed the clock and looked more relaxed and younger so it surprised to see how old he was when he passed. Jim is now up in heaven with my dad and I’m sure they are reminiscing about their good times and conversations they had at the old Seaman’s Pharmacy.

Paul W. Wang: My late sister, Angel Wang worked in Seaman’s for many years and enjoyed it. Jimmy Hardiman was her good friend. I have very fond memories of Jimmy Hardiman allowing Henry Wade and me to play chess in Seaman’s every Friday night from about 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jimmy is going to be missed by all, especially my family.

Katherine Massopust: Jimmy came to my wedding to Paul 6 years ago. I remember telling him when Paul’s sister, Angel died and he was very sad. I laugh at a funny memory when my father brought my old dog, Yoda to Seaman’s and Yoda had a little “accident” on the floor. Jimmy was not happy and brought it up frequently.

A.J. Massopust: Almost every night if I had a meeting or had to be somewhere I would always end my evening at Seaman’s and we would talk. For many years Jimmy and I would jog along the Waterfront together at 10 p.m. If you walked into Seaman’s you knew Jimmy was your friend. He helped me many times and just anyone else I knew, too.

Seaman’s closed its doors on November 19, 1998. Jimmy now can start his own pharmacy up in heaven along with his friends and coworkers (they include Betty, Angel and Joanie) who have been waiting for the boss to make his appearance. Charlie White received the last cup of coffee on Earth and I’m sure is being served the first cup of coffee in heaven from Jim.

Jim attended St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. He served as a member of the President’s Council. Jim attended Georgetown Univ. and earned a B.S. in Business Mgt. from Seton Hall, and served in military intelligence for the U.S. Army.

Losing his father at an early age, Jim became a provider by managing the family business, Seaman’s Pharmacy (est. 1840). Recognized as a pillar of the community, this popular soda fountain frequently hosted lunchtime meetings that included the patronage of mayors, congressmen, and committeemen.

He was a parishioner and Trustee of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Perth Amboy. He was as a member of the BOD of Roosevelt Hospital for 30 yrs, 25 yrs as Pres.

Services Thurs., June 14 10 a.m., Costello-Runyon Funeral Home, 568 Middlesex Ave. (RT.27), Metuchen, NJ, followed by an 11 a.m. Mass of the Resurrection at St. Mary’s R.C. Church, Perth Amboy. Burial will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Perth Amboy. Visitation Wed. 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.

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