John Wesley Hardt

Bishop John Wesley Hardt


South Central Jurisdiction


John Wesley Hardt was a retired bishop in The United Methodist Church. 

He comes from a parsonage family, having been born to the Reverend and Mrs. W.W. Hardt in San Antonio, Texas. He attended Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas, and then went on to Southern Methodist University to get his B.A. degree, serving much of this time as a supply pastor. John relieved his father as pastor at Malakoff, his future wife's hometown. Following the death of his father, he served there another year. He received his B.D. degree at Perkins School of Theology at S.M.U. He later did graduate work at Vanderbilt University and Union Theological Seminary, New York.

Ordained deacon and elder by Bishop A. Frank Smith, he joined the Texas Annual Conference. John Hardt served four other pastorates in the Texas Conference, each one involved with a major building program. In 1977 after serving at First United Methodist Church, Beaumont, Texas, for eighteen years, he was appointed District Superintendent of the Houston East District, where he was elected to the episcopacy by the Jurisdictional Conference in 1980. He was assigned to the Oklahoma Area. Following retirement in 1988 he has served as Bishop-in-Residence at Perkins School of Theology at SMU, Dallas Texas, and now is Bishop-in-Residence Emeritus.

John was a delegate to all General Conferences from 1960 to 1980, and has been active on general and conference agencies. He has served as a trustee of St. Paul School of Theology, Lon Morris College, Southern Methodist University, Oklahoma City University, and has received honorary degrees from Southwestern University and Oklahoma City University. He has been active in Rotary International and has traveled extensively. He is the author of four books, a book of sermons entitled, Not the Ashes, but the Fire, published in 1977, Lakeview, A Story of Inspiring Unity, published in 1992, Cecil Peeples, Giant of the 20th Century, and Forward in Faith, a history of Marvin United Church, Tyler, TX, published in 1999.

On September 13, 1943, while John Wesley was serving the Methodist Church in the hometown of Martha Carson, they were married.

Bishop Hardt passed on June 18, 2017.  Mrs. Martha Carson Hardt passed on August 22, 2020. 

They were the parents of four children: Betty (Mrs. Ed Lesko), William C., John S., and James J. (known as Joe). Eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren were also part of their main circle of love and pride.