Benjamin Aguiling Harder, Jr., age 65, of Levittown, PA, passed away at home on Sunday, March 26, 2023, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer and metastatic liver cancer. He was surrounded by his loving family.
Ben was born in Manila, Philippines, in August, 1957. As with his siblings, he was a natural-born citizen due to his father’s U.S. citizenship. Along with his parents, Benjamin Harder and Chloe Belle Aguiling Harder, and his four siblings, Ben moved to the United States in 1967, at the age of 9. His family settled in Elizabeth, NJ. Ben attended Elizabeth public schools and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School.
In high school, Ben excelled in sports. He was the catcher of his high school baseball team and ran track for four years. In track, he ran his personal best meet time of 9.89 seconds in the 100-yard dash. He also excelled in Okinawa-Kenpo.
His love of sports led to a B.S. in Physical Education from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania in East Stroudsburg, PA.
Desiring to make a difference in people’s lives, he pivoted to a career in health care. He obtained a Certificate of Completion in the Corrective/Kinesiotherapy Program at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. While there, Ben competed in powerlifting, ranking 10th in the nation in all weight classes combined. At 135 pounds, he could bench press 380 pounds, nearly three times his weight.
After completing the Corrective/Kinesiology program, he worked as a Staff Corrective Therapist in Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, for one year, then 7 years as a Staff Kinesiologist in Lyons, NJ. He was a member of the Orthopedic Ward Team and was appointed Team Leader of the Rehabilitation Medicine Service staff. At Lyons VA Medical Center, he was repeatedly honored with the Superior Performance As A Kinesiotherapist Award and the Special Contribution As A Kinesiotherapist Award.
During this time, he continued playing in local softball traveling teams and played ice hockey as a defenseman for Edison Lights club team.
After he became the physical medicine and rehabilitation representative for the brace/prosthetic clinic at the VA Medical Center in Lyons, NJ, Ben was inspired to work in the field of prosthetics and orthotics.
Ben obtained the Certificate of Completion for the Orthotic Practitioner Program, earning the Academic Excellence Award at Northeast Metro Technical College in White Bear Lake, MN. He honed his orthotic skills at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, MN.
One year later, he earned a Certificate of Completion in the Prosthetic Practitioner Program at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. He also earned Prosthetic Practitioner Certification by the American Board of Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics.
In his work, accomplishments included receiving the Sabolich Transfemoral Socket Accreditation, acquiring the designation of Lower Extremity Specialist, and the designation of Spinal Cord Injury Specialist.
He also became the Branch Manager at NovaCare Orthotics and Prosthetics in Bala Cynwyd, PA. Later he became the Facilities Manager for Hanger Orthotics and Prosthetics, Inc. in Horsham, PA, and Norristown, PA.
Prior to his illness, Ben was a Lower Extremity Specialist with Prosthetic Orthotic Solutions International (POSI) for 18 years. He specialized in fitting extremely difficult lower-extremity prosthetics. In this capacity, he was featured in several news articles treating high-visibility patients. In one instance, his patient was an alpaca, whom Ben treated with distinction.
Besides his professional life and sports activities, Ben’s other passions included deer, waterfowl, and upland hunting, as well as mountain biking and triathlons.
In his community, Ben was a staunch supporter of the Sesame Place Classic Race. He ran in 20 of the last 21 Classics, even when he was battling Stage IV cancer in 2019. In his final Classic in May 2022, his family and friends rallied round, running as a team named “Ben’s Brigade.”
Ben is survived by his siblings: Chloebelle Blachford (husband C. Daniel), Rosen Harder, Eleonor Harder (husband David Bresslour), and Arthur Noel Harder (wife Jacqueline). Ben continues to be a beloved uncle to his seven nieces and nephews and their spouses, and his fourteen grandnieces and grandnephews.
In memory of Benjamin A. Harder, Jr., a donation may be made to the Lustgarten Foundation, or to the Salvation Army, or the charity of your choice. The acknowledgment may be sent to:
The Harder Family
7 Schindler Drive
Randolph, NJ 07869
A Visitation will be held on Sunday April 2nd, 2023 from 2pm until the service begins at 3pm at Maxwell Funeral Home 160 Mathistown Rd. Little Egg Harbor, NJ 08087. A repast will follow at 4:30pm. A Burial will take place on Monday April 3rd, 2023 at 11am at Greenwood Cemetery on North Green St. in Tuckerton, NJ.
Please click the link below to watch the Sunday Funeral Service live starting at 2pm.