It’s with great sadness the USATF Mid-Atlantic Association announces the passing of one of our greats, Jonas Harding, Jr. Coach Harding passed away on January 15, 2024.
The obituary for Jonas Harding, Jr. can be found here
Jonas was a local high school and collegiate athlete, a paratrooper in the US Army 82nd Airborne division, a masters level official, a winning gymnastics and track and field coach, and mentor to thousands of young athletes in the Philadelphia area.
Mid-Atlantic Officials Chair Earl Edwards shared this tribute honoring of Coach Harding:
Jonas Harding, Jr., a teacher, mentor, and friend. My first encounter with Jonas was at a Mid-Atlantic youth meet where he was serving as the Race Starter, and my son was a youth athlete competing in the shotput. The shotput circle happened to be close to where Jonas was starting the track events. He yelled over the fence after one of his starts and said to my son, “great throw, keep up with what you’re doing!”. At that time not knowing who he was, I thought it was very nice of him to recognize my son.
Moving forward three years, I learned there were clinics for young officials that would help train us to officiate the Penn Relays. To my surprise, Jonas Harding, along with his lifelong friend Harold Adams, hosted these clinics to provide local officials with the opportunity to work the prestigious Penn Relays – a meet where we wouldn’t normally have had an opportunity to officiate. Through Jonas’ clinic and his positive nudging, I and many others got the chance to learn and grow. Not only did we work the Penn Relays, but we were also afforded the opportunity to work meets such as the Olympic Trials, Outdoor World Championship, World Masters, and many more national and international meets.
Jonas inspired all he met to do more for the sport of track and field. Jonas will be missed this year and beyond at PIAA high school, USATF Association, and Penn Relay meets, but he will never be forgotten by those he’s touched in his quiet and un-assuming way. He was a positive man, a motivator with kind eyes and a loving smile full of wisdom who moved mountains for his students, athletes and officials.
Please take a minute to read a 2018 Philadelphia Tribune article honoring the incredible life of Coach Jonas Harding here
The Mid-Atlantic Association sends our condolences to his family, especially his daughter’s Linda Harding-Bond and Janice Masud-Paul.