Paul Herschel Harder died, age 88, in Wichita Kansas.
He was born June 30, 1934, to Rev. Henry N. and Hilda Klassen Harder in Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada. He was later joined by two brothers, Verlin and Glennie (deceased 1941 at age 2 1/2 years old). At age one his parents moved to Enid, Oklahoma where his father started the Grace Mennonite Church. The family then moved to Geary, Oklahoma where his father pastored the First Mennonite Church. His third grade was spent in Newton, KS living with his grandparents while his mother was hospitalized with tuberculosis. In 1945, the family moved to Aberdeen, Idaho where his father pastored the First Mennonite Church.
Upon graduation from Aberdeen High School in 1952, he attended Bethel College in N. Newton, KS and graduated with a B.S. in Economics and Business Administration. Because of going back to Idaho to work through the fall potato harvest to finance his college costs, he did not graduate until 1959. It was at Bethel that he met his wife, Eldine Franz of Buhler, KS and they were married on June 9, 1957. His two-year alternative service was done as a bookkeeper in the Business Office at Bethel College. During his last year at Bethel, he served as Office Manager while completing graduation requirements.
Upon graduation from college, he worked at Hesston Corporation as Specifications Supervisor in the Engineering Department for 12 yrs. In 1971, he moved the family to Overland Park, KS and began a new career as a Patent Agent with a law firm in Kansas City that represented Hesston Corporation. He passed the Patent Bar in 1973. The family moved back to Newton in 1976, where he accepted the job of Controller at Bethel College. In 1984, he joined Kansas State Bank as Loan Officer and retired in 1994 as Vice President of Mortgage Lending. He then joined Kidron Bethel Retirement Services as Vice President of Finance and retired from this position in 1998.
He was actively involved in various civic, service, and charitable organizations. He held leadership positions including board chair, treasurer, trustee and various committee posts at Bethel College Mennonite Church and committee posts in the Western District Conference. He served on the board and as Treasurer at Prairie View Mental Health Center and Hospital. He was also a long-term Board Member, Chairman and Treasurer of Kidron Bethel Retirement Services and its successor Bluestem Communities. He was actively involved in the Newton Chamber of Commerce and served as President and board member of the Newton Lions Club. He was elected to three terms of the Newton City Commission including serving as Newton Mayor. He was also elected to serve on the N. Newton City Council for three terms.
Retirement was spent traveling both domestically and internationally, visiting all fifty states, Mexico and Canada. Traveling with their RV was common, and many years included spending several months in the winter in South Texas. Travel also included U.S. and European trips with the Mennonite Men’s Choir and to Ukraine in 1999 to the Harder homeland. He spent much of his time with family which was very important to him and gave him the greatest joy. At every opportunity he would be present and an enthusiastic supporter of his children’s and grandchildren’s school events and activities. He was a caretaker of family over the years, including overseeing the care of Eldine’s brother, Leroy Franz, after Eldine’s father passed on. In later years, as his health was declining, he did not let his physical limitations stop him and was determined to push himself to continue to live his life to the very fullest.
Survivors include his loving wife of 66 years, Eldine, and children Susan (David) Heller of Lawrence, KS, Scott (Laura) Harder of Augusta, KS, and Kay (Brian) Dalke of Newton, KS. Grandchildren include Kaitlin (Blake) Thornburgh, Christopher Heller, Joseph Harder, Rachael (Mylhan) Myers, Amanda (Cale) Wiebe, Rylan (Stephanie) Dalke, Brittany (Adam) Barrett, and Madison Dalke. Great Grandchildren include Rhett Thornburgh, Lachlan Myers, Evelyn and Rocky Barrett and Parker Dalke. Preceding him in death were his parents, brother Glennie, infant son Timothy and brother Verlin Harder.
Memorial Services will be held at Bethel College Mennonite Church, 2600 College Ave, North Newton, KS 67117, on Tuesday, December 20, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. with a viewing from 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Memorials may be made to Bethel College Mennonite Church.