August 18, 1947 ~ August 25, 2020

Born in: New Orleans, LA
Resided in: Los Angeles, California

Verna Rita Hardiman was born August 18, 1947 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Vernon and Althea Smith.  Her life was a living example of her favorite bible verse Psalms 118:24, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad today!”

Family values were instilled in Verna and her 2 siblings Vernon Jr. (1948) and Don (1959) from a young age.  When she was 4 years old the family moved from New Orleans to Queens, New York where the family cherished weekends with her uncle Clyde Smith and host of cousins. She also built an early bond with her aunt Ethel and Uncle Ernest, who took them to the Macy’s parade each year during their time in New York. She had a happy childhood and was sad to leave New York to move to California.

In 1957 Vernon Sr. moved his family to California for better job opportunities. During their first year in California the family lived with Althea’s brother, Burnell Roques Sr. and his family. Vernon Sr. and Althea purchased their family home at 6001 Haas Ave in Los Angeles and Verna attended Saint Brigid’s grade school on 52nd and Western Ave. She was later promoted to St Mary’s Academy.

As a high school student Verna dated Vernon G Calvin who lived across the street.  The young adults married on November 23, 1963.  They welcomed their first born son Michael Anthony Calvin on May 30, 1964 and then Christopher Thomas Calvin, was born September 5, 1966.  The couple divorced in February of 1968.

While Verna raised her 2 sons, she worked hard, and she enjoyed her life with her friends and family.  As a worker for the city of Los Angeles, she worked her way up the ranks to become a case worker.  She later would retire from the Deputy Attorney’s Child Support Office.  Verna loved to go out and have a good time.  She enjoyed spending time with her friends at all of the popular hotspots and restaurants. Verna took pride in spending quality time with her kids by taking them to amusement parks, festivals, concerts, vacation trips, and the theater.

In the late 1970’s Verna met and fell in love with her life partner Lacy W. Hardiman.  The couple were introduced to one another by her brother, Vernon, when Verna was looking for someone to remodel her kitchen. They married on February 23, 1980 and lived a happy life until Lacy passed away in June of 2008.

She cared for her family a great deal.  She cherished her sons, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  Anyone that ever met her was like instant family.  She lived for hosting family gatherings and cooking for those she loved.  She was extremely proud of her New Orleans heritage and while in California stayed involved in the Los Angeles to Louisiana (LALA) Organizing Committee, Inc.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Verna welcomed her cousin Wanda who was displaced by the storm to California. They both moved back to New Orleans in 2013. Always a part of the solution and not the problem, she decided to invest in her community by purchasing a home in the 9th Ward and inevitability went into the Airbnb hosting business in New Orleans.  She played hostess for her beloved city to all that visited her there.  She could tell you the best places to eat, the best concerts to attend, and the best times to visit.  If you were lucky, she would show you her love by feeding you a home cooked meal.  She loved to love on others through her food, beautiful smile, and welcoming personality. Verna never met a stranger. Anyone that met her had a friend for life.

Verna enjoyed traveling.  One of her favorite places to visit was Hawaii and she went as often as she could.  She enjoyed taking cruises and spent time in Palm Springs and Las Vegas. You could always find her at a bingo game, a slot machine, a concert or in front of the TV in her PJs watching a host of movies or reality shows.

On August 25, in her beloved city of New Orleans, Verna transitioned to begin her new mission; A mission that has allows her to reunite with her parents, her husband Lacy, and her beloved aunt Ethel, who all preceded her in death.

She leaves to cherish her memory, brothers Vernon David Smith, Jr (Gail) and Don Smith (Susan); sons Michael Anthony Calvin, Sr. and Christopher Thomas Calvin, Sr.; grandchildren Donte Arnold (Jessica), Christopher Calvin, Jr., Michelle Calvin, Kristin Calvin, and Michael Calvin Jr;  great-grandchildren: Donovann Arnold, Kason Patterson, Chloe Johnson, and DJ Arnold; daughters-in-love Dana Calvin and Martha Calvin; and a host of nieces, nephews, family, and close friends.

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  1. candle 1I pray that the Joy of the Lord be our family’s strength. I pray that our family takes one day at a time and allows God to bring us comfort in memories of a life well lived and lessons well taught. I pray that we learn how to cherish one another, express truth in love and never hesitate to be there for one another-as Auntie Rita did. May we remember to keep God at the forefront of our lives, for HE still has a purpose for us, to carry on her legacy. I believe God can, and will bring peace and comfort to us all. I am so thankful for the blessings of family we have , and hopeful that there are more blessings to come. We love you Auntie, we cherish you and will forever hold you in our hearts.

  2. candle 5Prayers and Condolences to the entire family. For me to call someone mama she had to be an amazing woman and that she definitely was. I will truly miss her. God has gained a wonderful and loving Angel and I know she’s safe in God’s arms. Rest well mama Verna. To the family know that God is with you and will see you through. Mama Verna is still smiling.

    Jeanette Neely

  3. My dear cousin and friend. I will miss you so much. God called you home to be with Him. This is not good bye but so long until we see each other again. Memories of your smile, kindness. And concern for others will forever be in my heart. Love you much.

  4. candle 1Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning. My prayers and condolences are deeply extended out to the entire Hardiman family & I pray that God continues to pour out his Holy Spirit & strength to each of you during this very difficult time. I too called Rita mom because that is exactly how she always treated me since day one. Her warm smile & kindheartedness was priceless and will truly be missed but never forgotten. Heaven has gained yet another awesome & beautiful Angel and she is now reaping her fruit from labor to reward. God bless you Verna and rest well in paradise. I love you ❤️

  5. candle 4Thank you God for placing my sister/friend Rita in my life more than 40 years ago. She was a forever friend. I pray you give Michael and Chris your peace and comfort. Keep them and the grandchildren and the rest of the family in your loving care. Rest in Heaven Rita♥️❤️

  6. candle 4Pamela Broom & Family extends our heartfelt sympathy to all of you. May God comfort you and give all of you the mental and physical strength that you need as you lay BEAUTIFUL MAMA VERNA to rest. God called a very sweet angel home. Rest well MAMA VERNA. I will always remember your beautiful smile.

  7. candle 7May God keep and hold entire Hardiman-Smith famil in his loving arms. Rita was an amazing person who always let you know you were apart of her life. My family and I send our prayers and deep condolences. Rest in Paradise Rita. Love you ❤️🙏🏽

  8. candle 6Mrs. Verna, I’m still in shock! I just seen you a few weeks ago… 😔💔 but I know you’ve been waiting for your trip to Hawaii, but now you can see the world… Sleep in peace beautiful ❤ Love & Light to all her family & friends reading this 🙌❤

  9. candle 5Rita I spoke to her on my birthday Aug 3, Rita reminded me that I turned 92. Love you Verna Rita. Aunt Mamie

  10. candle 6I talked to you at 11 o’clock the night before you passed but I remember this you never say goodbye so I Will do the same I will not say good bye But I will see you on the other side my dear friend. Thanks you for all your support and all the days you spent in the Chemotherapy room with me. Thanks for being beautiful, kind, and an amazing friend. You were a good and faithful servant take your rest with all your family and our Heavenly Father. To Michael, Chris all the grandchildren n great grandchildren and all the other family members Verna was truly a diamond 💎 my prayers are with you all.

  11. candle 6I Love you Granny. I did a good job at school and slept in my bunk bed at Poppy’s house. I miss you Granny.
    Great Granddaughter
    Age 3

  12. My dear sister Rita… It’s so hard for me to find the words to say goodbye and let go of one of the greatest sisters one could ever hope for. You were not only my sister, but one of my very best friends. You have been there for me from the beginning and it is so difficult to imagine life without you. All my life you have always been someone I could confide in and never hesitated to be there for me whenever I needed you. You were a bright light and had a heart of gold, helping many in our family no matter what storm we faced. I thank God for blessing me with you, and I’m so grateful for all you have done and for who you were. I am still trying to make sense and struggle with losing you. However, I pray for faith daily to trust God and not depend on my own understanding, for things are done in HIS timing and according to HIS plans. I’m praying for God to continue to uplift our family and to bring us peace. I pray that we are comforted knowing that you were embraced by God’s loving arms and greeted by many beloved family members when you were called Home. Rita, Angel enjoy all the riches Heaven has to offer. Please know that we will stay reminded of all the love, uplifting and inspiration you’ve shown to our family, and that we will apply it and use it to guide us through our lives. We will think about you always, continue to speak about you, never forget you and hold you close within our hearts until we meet again.

    Love Vernon

  13. candle 8Some of our fondest life memories have been with cousin Rita.
    You will forever be in our hearts!💕
    Rest In Paradise 🎈🌤🌈
    We love you always,
    Your Favorite NY Cousins,
    Donald, Janice & Kamaria

  14. God looked around his garden and found an empty place. He then looked down upon the Earth and saw your face. He put his arms around you and lifted you to rest. With the help of his ANGELS they flew you to your heavenly place. We miss you my neighbor.

  15. candle 7Ms Verna you was my sweet neighbor I will not forget I will miss our talks our laughs we had together. God took her to soon but your in a better place, you will be truly miss Ms Verna

  16. candle 1To the family of Rita, we will miss her generosity and her wonderful smile and friendship. May you all find peace and comfort in the legacy she left. Vernon I know you will miss your sister, you two were inseparable. My heart goes out to you. Rest in paradise Rita. With deepest condolences Glen and Myra🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊🦋🦋🦋

  17. candle 7Rita was sweet, kind and hospitable. She always made everyone feel welcomed and special. We’re praying the Lord comfort and strengthen your hearts in the days and weeks ahead and blanket you with His peace. Until you see her again…

    Love you guys,
    Dolly and Troy

  18. candle 7Rita was sweet, kind and hospitable. She always made everyone feel welcomed and special. We’re praying the Lord comfort and strengthen your hearts in the days and weeks ahead and blanket you with His peace. Until you see her again…

    Love you guys,
    Troy and Dolly

  19. candle 7Dear, Sweet Rita,
    What a blessing to me when I finally met you. I had known of you and
    Vernon through Aunt Ethel. I am uncle E rnest’s niece, you Aunt Ethels. So I had a cousin, and you welcomed me like a sister. . And included me in your family outings. ,We shared some special times with Aunt Ethel.
    So loving and generous with everyone.
    To the family, She’ll be that bright diamond you see in the sky or those full drops of rain falling on you. We should have all learned something from you to use in our lives. See you again, my sister.
    Joycelyn Fortune’

  20. candle 7Dear Rita, you are exactly what New Orleans represented kind, Inviting, entertaining, great cook and love to have a good time you will truly be missed.

  21. candle 1RIP Rita you will be greatly missed. Sending prayers and love to my brothers and rest of the family❤️🙏🏾.

  22. Rita, my thoughts and memories of you
    are cherished in my heart forever. You are so special, a gift from heaven. I love hugging and squeezing you until you laughed. We enjoyed laughing and talking, just hanging out with you made everyone feel special. Big Momma was my nickname for you because you were my mother figure when I needed you, my best friend, and my mentor, I love you Big Momma, you will be terribly missed in my life.
    You loved me when it was hard for me to love myself. You turned my life around because that’s what you do. That’s your gift from God, loving and caring for others, always giving yourself away. You will forever be that big silly smile that brings joy to my heart. You let me know how wonderful God is here on earth by your love for others. Big Momma. our Lord called you home so, rest in peace until we meet again.
    Forever your little cousin Bernie.

  23. candle 2I had the opportunity to work with Verna for a short time at CSSD. She was a beautiful person and a great co-worker. May she rest in peace. My condolences to the family.

  24. candle 8Rita we will miss our laughs and good times with you. No one is ever really ready for this. We are heartbroken . We will always love you and carry the memories we were fortunate to share together, with us into the future.
    We love you always!!!
    Donnie, Susan and Lauren Smith

  25. candle 1Rest in heaven Ms. Verna. It was a pleasure to know you and work with you. I’ll miss seeing your smile and the love you shared for your family on Facebook.

  26. candle 7I am So sorry for this loss in our world. Verna is a beautiful soul who made the workplace a more pleasant environment. She was in one of my early training groups and, while I was the teacher and she the student, she taught me a lot more than she probably knew. She left me an animated inflatable sun that has stayed with me all these years. It made each one of my work locations bright and more cheerful and I was able to share the story of why it always hung in my office more times than I can count. A wonderful human being and a great colleague. Go with the angels, dear Verna.

  27. candle 7Anna Duplessis I never met Rita but I had great conversations with her she bless my family and I when my Mom passed. We stayed in her air bnb in New Orleans she had a beautiful spirit. RIP angel.

  28. candle 8Our condolences and love to all of Rita’s Family. She always treated us like like we were immediate family. Her love of life, smile and joy were infectious. We pray for God’s comfort and peace for the entire family.

    John, Emelda (Mel), Jennifer and Melvin

  29. candle 7You were such a sweet and classy lady Ms. Verna. I am so thankful God allowed out paths to cross. I appreciate all the love you showed me, and I appreciated all the talks we had. Thanks for being there for me when my mother passed away. Rest In Peace.

  30. candle 3Ms. Verna, it was a pleasure meeting you in 1998 when we started working for L.A. County D.A./CSSD. You were a beautiful Woman. I will never forget your lovely soft demeanor, your elegant style, and your beautiful smile. May you rest in paradise. My condolences to the Family.

  31. candle 4Rita was one of the sweetest women we’ve known and we feel truly blessed to have had the time we did with her. Play in Heaven 💖🎉🙏🏼
    Pauline Smiley and Camille McClendon

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