At a recent meeting of the Board of Directors, WPHA created the position of Board Member Emeritus and named Maureen Hardy as the first honoree.
Maureen and her husband, Gene, have lived in Ward Parkway Homes for 30 years.
Before moving to Ward Parkway Homes, they lived in—and for more than 20 years were very actively involved in—the 49/63 Neighborhood Coalition, the oldest, continuously active neighborhood association in the metropolitan area. It is also the only neighborhood group in Kansas City that includes residential areas on both sides of Troost Avenue, which has served as the historic racial dividing line for more than a century. Maureen proudly served on the 49/63 Board of Directors.
She has served on the WPHA Board of Directors twice. The first time, she served between five and 10 years, during which she served as Vice-President. Little did she know when she left the Board that sometime around 2007, she would rejoin the board, serving until the end of fiscal year 2023.
During their 30 years in the neighborhood and Maureen’s 20+ years on the WPHA Board, she and Gene were active in myriad ways: for many years they helped organize the July 4 Picnic; Gene would cook and tend the grill; Maureen would face paint and organize games. Maureen also oversaw the WPHA Garage Sale weekend for a decade or more. Currently, Maureen helps organize the annual Holiday Homes Decorating contest as well as Holiday Caroling.
Gene is a chef. Having grown up in Alabama, he came north as a young adult, found a job, and stayed. Always supportive of the neighborhood they call home, Maureen and Gene owned for a number of years a deli in Waldo, where they worked full-time and had a successful catering business.
When they decided to close the deli, Gene took a position as the chef at a local country club, which included catering a number of events. Longtime friends of the owners of Browne’s Irish Marketplace, they help with busy events in both the store and the kitchen.
Maureen was born in Kansas to a father who had immigrated from County Cork, Ireland, at the age of 18; he was a cobbler. Her mother was also of Irish descent, and together they raised seven children, of whom Maureen is the youngest.
Maureen found herself working for the City of Kansas City, including a number of years on the staff of Mayor Kay Barnes. She continues to be actively involved with civic and Democratic political events.
Maureen’s Irish pride is on full display during their legendary St. Patrick’s Day parties, which include Gene’s mouthwateringly delicious Irish Stew. Always drawing a crowd, the party is filled with good friends, great food, and challenging Irish trivia.
Though both are retired, they continue to be active with their church. They both volunteer at Shepherds Center, and Gene serves on several church committees. In their free time, they like to go to the gym for walking and swimming, walking around the WPHA, and watching sports.
Gene also loves working in their flowerpots and yard, and their home was featured more than once in the erstwhile WPHA Garden Tour.
In good weather, you can often find them sitting on their front porch visiting with friends, guests, and neighbors. Social time and meals with friends and extended family is among their favorite things to do.
Maureen and Gene have one daughter and three grandsons who live in California but visit often. This past May, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.