John Harwood Harding

Date of Birth

October 9, 1937

Date of Death

June 13, 2020

John Harding was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Franklin H. Harding, Jr. and Elsie Ruth Harding (Gens). Both parents were graduates of Boston University Law School. His father practiced law in Boston until his death in 1946. After living in the Boston area and then in Augusta, Georgia, his mother moved him and his two brothers to La Jolla, California in 1950. John attended La Jolla Jr.-Sr. High School and graduated in 1956. It was in La Jolla where John took up his lifelong passion for surfing, mainly at Windansea. Surfing called John to Santa Barbara and UCSB where he could surf the Rincon, Hammonds, and Campus Point. At UCSB John pledged SAE. He also met his future wife there, Maylo Lewis, whom he wed in 1960. John earned his BA degree from UCSB in 1961.

John and Maylo stayed in Santa Barbara, where eventually John became involved in real estate, first as a broker, then as appraiser, and as an investor. John became a Member of the Appraisal Institute, earning the coveted title of an MAI qualified appraiser. John was well known in the real estate community, first as a member of the Board of Realtors, then as member and president of the Society of Real Estate Appraisers in Santa Barbara. John became an expert in appraising Montecito and Hope Ranch properties and was often called as an expert witness in litigation matters.

John and Maylo raised two children, Christopher (1963) and Jill (1970) in their home in Montecito. John’s first love was surfing, but he also became an avid skier, tennis player, and golfer. Often family vacations revolved around his love of surfing and skiing which was passed down to his children. In the early ‘60s he was a member of the Hollister Ranch surf club and spent many weekends surfing there. John, always looking for the perfect board, would make his own boards, then made of balsa wood. Then he met Rennie Yater who made many boards for him over the years. He and Maylo made many trips to their favorite place, Hawaii. John was a member of Knowlwood Tennis Club (president), Birnam Wood Golf Club, and supported the Montecito YMCA (board member).

John is survived by his wife, Maylo, son Chris, daughter Jill, and granddaughters Kendall and Kaila. He is also survived by his brothers, Frank Harding (La Jolla) and Jeffrey Harding (Santa Barbara), and nephew Matthew Harding.

John became afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and resided at Oak Cottage in Santa Barbara when he passed away. The family wishes to thank his caregiver Tavo Moreno for his kind and loving care. A celebration of John will be held in the future.


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