ROCKLAND – David Oliver Harden, 80, died Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, at Harbor Hill Center in Belfast, from complications of COVID-19.

Born in Rockland on Aug. 30, 1942, David was the elder son of Fred E. Harden and Inez (Bowley) Harden. He grew up in Rockland and only attended two schools: the McLain Grammar School and Rockland High School, from which he graduated in 1960. His childhood adventures included both the great Hotel Rockland Fire of 1952 and the terrible Hurricane Edna which gave Rockland a direct hit in September of 1954. David particularly enjoyed family visits to his aunt, uncle and cousins near Washington D.C. during two summers in the 1950s.

That is when he began to develop a life-long love of travel and touring.

After high school, David enlisted in the U.S. Army and attended its language school in California, where he learned to speak, read and write Korean. He served as a translator until his discharge after which he settled in Boston, Massachusetts. David studied hotel management and later took courses to become a travel agent. He worked at both occupations and finally settled on the travel business as his life’s work. In Boston, he met and courted Patricia Keegan when he moved into the apartment house where she was living. They were married at the Rockland Congregational Church on April 15, 1978 and soon traveled to the island of Saba in the Netherlands Antilles where David leased and managed the Captain’s Quarters Inn for four years. David and Pat loved Saba but also missed New England, so returned to live in and around Boston for many years.

David worked at Beacon Hill Travel, a small firm specializing in individual travel for long-term clients. He excelled in planning unusual itineraries for his customers, many of whom became friends as well. At Beacon Hill Travel, David earned his designation as a certified travel consultant and particularly enjoyed the one-on-one service he could provide. His favorite client was the French chef, Julia Child, for whom he worked as agent for many years and who became a close friend. David’s wife, Pat, could never quite relax when she had to make dinner for Julia!

David and Pat spent as much time as their jobs allowed travelling. They visited most states in our country and more than 50 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Russia, the South Pacific, and North, Central, and South America. David always claimed that all of their trips were research for his work, but he travelled more often and further than most of his clients. David’s favorite destination was Great Britain because of his English roots, and he faithfully followed and studied the British Royal Family all his life. His favorite chance meeting while traveling was in Bermuda when he and Pat met the newly married Prince (now King) Charles and Princess Diana while touring an old church. That was the travel tale that David never tired of telling. David’s family preferred the harrowing tale of the time Pat had to rent a car and drive them across the Sinai Desert from Egypt to Israel because David was late and they missed their flight between the two countries. They were stopped and searched at the border, but as always arrived safely and added another to their hundreds of travel stories.

In 2007 both David and Pat retired from their jobs and moved to David’s family home in Rockland where they enjoyed retirement and community volunteer work.

David loved docent work at Aldemere Farm in Rockport as it reminded him of growing up next to a farm on Traverse Street in Rockland. He also enjoyed volunteering at the local chamber of commerce because he could tell travel stories to his fellow volunteers and to tourists as well. David lost his wife, Pat, after 40 years of marriage, in 2019 and soon was forced by his own health issues to move to assisted living and then long-term care at Harbor Hill Center in Belfast. He suffered from cardiac disease and had undergone open heart surgery in 2017. He then developed frontal lobe dementia, but never lost his long term memory and told travel tales until COVID-19 took him last week. David’s family expressed gratitude for the excellent quality of care he always received at Harbor Hill.

David was predeceased by his parents Fred and Inez and his wife, Patricia. He is survived by his brother, Brian Harden of Rockland; his favorite aunt, Ruth Grafton of Thomaston and Ruth’s husband George; his aunt, Erleen Harden-Martin of Rockland; his first cousins, Anne, Lisa, Susan, Gail, and Margaret in his mother’s family, and first cousins, Ercell, Heather, Richard, Donald, Stephen, Susan, Larry, and Linda in his father’s family. He is also survived by his wife’s brother-in-law, George Mellor, and George’s son, Edward Mellor and his family.

A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, at Burpee, Carpenter and Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland. The Reverend Dr. Seth D. Jones will officiate. Burial at Achorn Cemetery will follow immediately after the service. Those who wish may contribute in David’s memory to the Abiding Memorial Fund of the Rockland Congregational Church, 180 Limerock St., Rockland, ME 04841.