Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame

Sketch of Evelyn Hardy

Evelyn Hardy

Throughout her career, Evelyn Hardy has stressed a philosophy of hope and happiness for our senior citizens and has done all in her power to share vast amounts of both. Mrs. Hardy’s lifetime passion and commitment have been to provide the highest-quality care for the geriatric patient in a home-like environment. Early in her nursing career, while taking care of patients in their homes, Mrs. Hardy recognized the acute need for skilled care in a facility for the elderly in Tuscaloosa. Determined to make a difference, in 1956, she opened one of the first nursing homes in the state of Alabama with a registered nurse in charge. Mrs. Hardy independently sought financing to convert a house in Tuscaloosa into a nursing home, where she and her mother would alternate working 12-hour shifts to take care of the patients. Her work, determination, and dedication resulted in LaRocca, a beautiful, expansive, and comprehensive skilled nursing facility that is not simply a nursing home but “home” to its many residents. It is a home, in fact, where discharged patients who have gone back to their own houses often reappear wanting to return to LaRocca, and Mrs. Hardy. Mrs. Hardy is on call 24 hours a day. Her home is just across the street from LaRocca where a robe hangs by her bedroom door at all times so that she can be with one of her patients, all of whom she knows by name, at any time. In 1976, Mrs. Hardy was recognized nationally when she was nominated for the American Nurses’ Association Honorary Nursing Practice Award, which is given every other year to one nurse in the United States. In 2002, she was named Director of Nursing of the Year by the Alabama Nursing Home Association. Also in recognition of her commitment to nursing and specifically geriatric nursing, friends and residents of LaRocca established a scholarship in her honor at the Capstone College of Nursing. Mrs. Hardy earned her diploma from Druid City Hospital Training School for Nurses. She was a member of the first class at The University of Alabama to earn a B.S.N. and earned her M.A. in education from The University of Alabama.