Brian Hardiman, age 54, of Apopka, Florida, passed away late Tuesday evening, July 21, 2020, after a valiant battle with cancer.
Brian was born May 26, 1966 in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, the first baby born in the newly built maternity ward at Jean’s Hospital. He moved with his parents, in 1968, to the Florida Keys, where he grew up. Brian was an acclaimed tight end for the Key West High School Fighting Conchs football team and graduated in the class of 1984. He married the love of his life, Laurie Yakel, on April 15, 1989 in Key West. The two shared 31 wonderful years of marriage.
Brian worked as a bee keeper with his father, and eventually took over his dad’s business “Key Bee Apiaries”. In addition, he always had a passion for helping others and therefore become a volunteer firefighter. He later become a Paramedic with the Big Pine Fire Department, where he worked for 5+ years. In 1992, Brian graduated from Fire School in Ocala, FL and officially began his career as a firefighter. Brian joined the City of Orlando Fire Department in 1995, after moving to Apopka with his family. He started out as a Firefighter/Paramedic, and worked his way up the ranks to Lieutenant. After 25 years of service to the City, Brian was looking forward to retiring later this year.
Brian was a devoted father, husband, brother, and son who loved spending time with his family and friends. He lived a simple but wonderful life. He loved camping, canoeing, white water rafting, ATV rides, hiking, and searching for waterfalls. Brian was also very passionate about sports, specifically football and baseball, and he loved his Cubs and Cowboys!
Brian was a bright light to anyone who met him. He knew how to connect with just about anyone. He was always smiling and cracking jokes. He was an excellent communicator, and knew so much about so many different things. Brian believed in working hard and being honest, and he instilled these virtues in his children. He would tell you what he thought even if you didn’t want to hear it. He loved life and keeping people together, especially his family.
Brian is preceded in death by his father James S. Hardiman, paternal grandparents James H. and Katherine Hardiman, and maternal grandparents Robert “Emmett” and Marion Delany.
Brian is survived by his wife Laurie, daughter Brittney and her husband Brett Andrews, daughter Melissa and her husband Randy Keller, sister Colleen Hardiman, brother Daniel Hardiman, mother Marie Hardiman, and grandchildren Cayden Metzger-Keller, Raelynn Andrews, Mason Andrews, Emmett Keller and Baby Keller.
The family held a private ceremony on Friday July 24th. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date to remember and honor Brian’s life.
In lieu of flowers, Brian requested that donations be made to the Orlando Firefighters Benevolent Association at 4005 Orange Blossom Trail Orlando, FL 32804 or through their website at www.OFFBA.org.