HARDER, Hella (Dahl)

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Hella Harder was born October 6, 1926 and raised on a farm east of Didsbury, part of the old Burns Ranch, where her young parents had arrived as refugees from southern Russia, carrying with them the traumatic experiences of civil war. She died in hospital on May 31, 2020 in Edmonton, where she had lived most of her adult life.

Left to cherish her memory are two daughters, Leila (Charles) and Rhonda (Roger); four grandchildren, Megen, Bryn (Morgen), Stefan (Laurel), and Elise; two great-grandchildren, Mateus and Talia;  brother, Ralph (Rita); and a sister, Hedy. She was predeceased by Jacob, her husband of 70 years, whom she missed deeply in the final months of her life; an infant daughter; and two sisters, Elsie and Susan.

Hella was not a public person. In the words of the 19th-century novel, Middlemarch, she “lived faithfully a hidden life” – one marked by the kinds of “unhistoric acts” on which, paradoxically, the “growing good of the world” depends. She was a loyal friend. She invited many people, young and old, to a dinner table set with an elegance that honored her guests. With her skilled hands, she was asked to sew dresses for special occasions – graduations, weddings – and later made intricate, string-embroidered cards to send out. In retirement, she and Jacob built a house together, travelled, learned to dance, faced the challenges of aging, and, above all, demonstrated an enduring love for each other.

The family is grateful for the care and kindness shown by staff at Riverbend Lifestyles Options and Grey Nuns Hospital.

A virtual memorial service will be held on June 20. Please contact First Mennonite Church or the family for details.

Donations in memory of Hella Harder may be made to Mennonite Central Committee (Alberta) at 210, 2946 – 32 St NE, Calgary AB, T1Y 6J7, or https://donate.mcccanada.ca/.

Location information

Previous events

Virtual Memorial Service
First Mennonite Church

3650 91 St NW Edmonton AB T6E 6P1 CA

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Tribute wall - a place to share your memories and condolences

Carolina and Paulo

Dear Rhonda, Roger and family.
We would like to send you our deepest and most sincere condolences. Wishing you peace and comfort in your hearts.
Carolina and Paulo

Robin Dick

My sympathies, Leila and Rhonda. In many ways, the description of your mother here could just as well have been for Mom. Not having seen your parents since about four decades ago, all of my memories of them are from when they were in their prime. As you know, they were great friends with my folks and did many things together. As kids, I think we all benefited from their friendship, and our own lives were made richer by the breadth of their shared interests and the joy they had in each other’s company. I’m sad that our parents have disappeared from our lives, but heartened by the knowledge that so many of their qualities and their shared love of life have been passed on to us. We can only be grateful.

Ellen and Carl Amrhein

Dear Rhonda, Roger and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. What a lovely write up about your mother.

Take care
Ellen and Carl Amrhein

Scotty & Colleen Day

Condolences Rhonda & Leila. Every visit to the Harder home left me with memories – the major one was the cream puffs. They were delicious.
Your mother was a very special person who knew how to mix with all the major groups of people your dad was involved with . Thanks for inviting us to the last get together you had for your mom and dad.

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