Robert “Bobby” O’Neil Harding was born December 6, 1943 in Portland, Oregon to Richard E. Harding Sr. (deceased) and Betty J. Harding. He lived and grew up with his parents and five brothers – Lathaniel, Dwaine, Richard Jr., Ronald (deceased), and Anthony Harding. Four sisters – Frenesi, Betty Jr. (deceased), and Kathryn Harding. Also, Marie Owens, cousin/sister.
Robert attended Coleman grade school, Washington Jr. High and graduated from Franklin High School in 1962. In school Robert enjoyed playing football and baseball.
Robert met his best friend – Robert “Bobby” White in Kindergarten, they did many things together as youngsters.
They formed a group called the “23rs St. Boys.” They loved to climb on the back of milk trucks, play ping pong, baseball, and football at the local community centers. Also Robert taught himself to play piano.
Robert was very intelligent, academics were very easy for him. Also he was very humble and possessed a very gentle soul even as a young boy.
Robert met Muhammad Ali at the University of Washington, he was Robert’s natural role model, along with Martin Luther King Jr., Huey Newton, and Angela Davis.
Robert joined the Army in 1963, where he became a medic. He was stationed in Copenhagen, Denmark, and lived there are few more years, where he met and married Winnie. They returned to Washington State, however Winnie decided to move to New York after a shore while.
In 1968 Robert became a Lieutenant in the Seattle chapter of the “Black Panthers.” As one of the original members of the chapter he was in charge of training the troops in the military style drilling and the proper handling of weapons.
The purpose of the Black Panthers was to: determine our own destiny, eliminate minimum wage, the freeing of all Black political prisoners unjustly incarcerated, to be tried by jurors of our own peers, and fair housing.
The Black Panthers were responsible for enacting the free breakfast and lunch programs for underprivileged children in Seattle.
Robert loved all children and was a wonderful father and family man. In 1975 Robert met Kathryn “Kitty” Torras and they have three beautiful children.
Robert worked as a counselor for Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Center, legal courier, and Harborview Medical Center as a Mental Health Specialist for over 15 years, and was due to retire when he suffered a stroke in 1998.
In 2006 Robert re-dedicated his life to our Lord and Savior. May God spread his wings around his soul.
Robert lived at Leon Sullivan Health Care Facility from December 27, 1999 to March 5, 2013, when he passed away peacefully in his sleep.
Robert leaves his loving mother, Betty Jean Harding, one aunt – Joanne Claiborne, and six siblings.
Robert leaves his legacy to the following: two daughters - Rohema Doherty, Kamala Bracken (Budge); one son – Jamill Harding (Carla); eight grandchildren (and one on the way); cousins, nieces, nephews, and many many loving friends.