Remembering Millie Hardy

in 2018, “06880” honored Millie Hardy with an “Unsung Hero”award.

She’d worked for Minute Men Cleaners for 47 years. She’d been its backbone “forever.”

She was a reluctant hero. But her customers agreed: There was no better choice.

Millie died suddenly yesterday, at work.

Minute Men Cleaners, this morning.

Warren Shapiro — one of the many customers who loved her, and was shocked and saddened by the news — says:

She was a gem of a person and really an inspiration to me. I worked on Long Island for 2 years. I got up early for my drive to work. I would pass by the cleaners at like 6:45 a.m., cranky and talking to myself about how miserable this early morning commute was.

I would see Millie opening up the store, sweeping the front stoop, just as happy and dutiful as can be.

There was no complaining or negativity in that woman.  Just goodness.

She was an unsung hero for sure.

Here is that “Unsung Hero” story, from 2018.


Mildred Hardy did not want to be featured on “06880.”

But several customers walking into Minute Men Cleaners saw us talking, and gave encouragement. “You deserve it!” one said.

She sure does.

Millie — as she is universally and lovingly known — has been with the Riverside Avenue company for 47 years. She has been its backbone forever.

This was not her first Westport job. The Jamaica native was working for a family on South Compo Road. But she saw an ad for a presser. She was hired — and started work the same day.

That was March 3, 1971. Her boss is now the son of the former owner. She enjoys working for him — and interacting with customers. “They’re great,” Millie says. “They’re all my friends.”

Millie Hardy

She’s done dry cleaning, and run the machines. Now she works at the counter, where countless customers appreciate her warm smile and kind words.

Millie lives next door. In a part of town known for commuting — and at a business with many commuter customers — she’s got the shortest commute of all.

And one of biggest fan bases of anyone, anywhere.

Thanks, Millie, for 47 years of loyal, devoted service to Minute Men Cleaners, and Westport. You’re a true Unsung Hero!

(Hat tip: Patricia McMahon)

11 responses to “Remembering Millie Hardy

  1. Jeff Seaver

    Awww, this is such a sad note, Dan – but thank you for letting us know. Millie has always been a pleasure to be around – its a testimonial to your life, I think, if folks can say the world is a little less bright without you in it. We don’t have enough Millie’s in this world (it’s not like we had one to spare).

    Maybe all we can do is do what she did so well: put our own trials and tribulations aside – even for a moment – and remember to add joy to the days of the people around us.

  2. Charles WK Haberstroh

    I’ve been using Minute Man Cleaners for 30 years and Millie was as much a fixture as the store itself. She was always there and always cheerful. Rest in peace, Millie!

  3. Maria Funicello

    Such sad news. Rest in peace Millie, we will miss you ❤

  4. Rindy Higgins

    Oh, such sad news. Just driving by the cleaners made me think of her and make me smile. She was such a cheerful light at the counter. When my husband took over bringing the dry cleaning, she would always ask how-s the missus. We will miss her.

  5. Jeffrey Jacobs

    For the past few years, I’d only go to the cleaners on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, because those were the only times that Millie “promised” me that she’d be there in person. The only regret that Millie ever expressed to me: that the corner store under her apartment no longer sold lottery tickets.

  6. I adored Milly. Thank you for all the wonderful conversations over the years. May your soul rest in peace. God bless you.

  7. James Berner

    Thank you for sharing this, and very sorry to hear about Millie’s sudden passing. As a regular customer, I often spoke with her, and always enjoyed our chats. Such a lovely person who always worked hard with a good attitude. If there is any way to make a charitable donation to her family, please let us know. Thanks again and hopefully Millie is getting a much-deserved break in heaven.
    James Berner

  8. I met Millie in the early 1980’s when we moved to Westport, and from that day on, she was always upbeat, friendly and had that “Millie smile” on her face. She will be missed, by me and the many others she touched with her kindness.

  9. Warren Shapiro

    Thank you Dan for a most fitting testimonial. Millie was a Westport treasure. She had a kind spirit and a wonderful approach to life. I will miss her greatly.

  10. Patricia McMahon

    I still recall that day after Dan published Millie’s story and strolling into
    Minute Man, and when she saw me had a hand on her hip and a finger wagging at me. I laughed and said , ” Let me tell you something lady, i just beat everyone to the punch before they got to Dan. You’re a rare local gem that’s admired by countless people. A little piece of your life and how wonderful you are deserves to be told “. She gave me a big hug and said Thank you !!
    Hearing this news really stings .
    I’m going to miss my lovely friend!!!

  11. Millie – Peace be with you.