Robert E. Harding April 28, 1948 - October 13, 2020

Bob Harding died peacefully at his St. Paul home on October 13 after a 15-year struggle with muscular dystrophy.   His wife, Tina Lund, was with him.  He is also survived by her sons, Britton Piehler and Timothy Piehler, and their families.

Robert Eldred Harding, Jr. was born on April 28, 1948 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  His father died six weeks later.  Bob was raised by his mother, Martha Stevenson Harding.  They moved to Minneapolis in 1956.  He attended Kenwood Elementary School and Blake School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard in 1970.

In 1980 Bob entered the University of Minnesota Law School, where he served as an Articles Editor of the Minnesota Law Review.  After graduating in 1983, he joined the Gray Plant Mooty law firm and practiced there for 36 years.  He specialized in representing public and private universities, private colleges, and healthcare systems in connection with major gifts, charitable trusts and endowment funds.  Bob’s motto was “Never take the fun out of what’s not supposed to be fun.”  His satires of law firm culture and its work ethic were legendary.

Bob’s great loves, in addition to Tina, her children and her grandchildren, were the outdoors, poetry, and drawing.  He was an accomplished rock climber in his twenties.  Starting in his mid-thirties, he pursued cross country ski racing with what he described as “more enthusiasm than success.”  Tina introduced him to canoeing in the BWCA and the Quetico, where they had many wonderful adventures and a few misadventures.  As a draftsman, Bob was largely self-taught; he drew mostly still lifes and portraits.  His favorite poets were Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop and Shakespeare.

Bob was dedicated to human rights and social justice throughout his life and was a longtime supporter of Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam and Human Rights Watch.  He tried to make the world a better place.

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