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Mary Ellen Harder

Mrs. John (Mary Ellen “M. E.“) Harder, 89, of Duncan, Okla., and formerly of Morris, Ill., passed away peacefully Friday afternoon, April 6, 2012, in the home of her daughter, with whom she resided.

Born July 24, 1922, in Herrin, Ill., Mary Ellen was the daughter of John and Lola Vinson Yuill.  She was educated in Herrin, graduating from Herrin High School with the Class of 1940. She attended Southern Illinois Normal University and Illinois Wesleyan University.  She was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority.

On June 15, 1944, she married the love of her life, John E. Harder of Morris, in the Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara, Calif. All of her adult life was lived in Morris, until 2010, when she moved to Duncan, Okla., to make her home with her daughter.

Mrs. Harder was employed as secretary of the Grundy County Chapter of the American Red Cross, a social worker with the Grundy County office of Illinois Department of Public Aid, and director of Grundy County Senior Services, retiring in 1987.

She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, where she had served as an elder, deacon, Sunday School teacher, president of the Women’s Association and Circle leader. She regularly attended the First United Methodist Church in Duncan, Okla., and was involved in many activities there.

M.E. was past president of the GFWC Morris Junior Woman’s Club, a Girl Scout leader, and member of the board of directors of Trailways Girl Scout Council. She served on the advisory council and board of directors of the Northeast Illinois Agency on Aging. She was a longtime member of the Morris Country Club, member of GFWC Owl Club of Duncan, and the Duncan Federated Music Club.

She is survived by her two loving daughters, Joan (Jerry “Andy“) Collins of Duncan, Okla., and Mary “Sis" Harseim of Morris, Ill.; five grandchildren, Scott Heakin of Simi Valley, Calif., Tracy (James) Juengst of Goodyear, Ariz., Brian Harseim of Morris, Ill., Brent (Jocelyn) Harseim of Fisher, Ill.. and Jennifer (William) Mellon of Webster, N.Y.; four great-grandchildren, Kaitlyn Juengst, Ella and Gage Harseim, and Samantha Heakin; along with several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, on Dec. 4, 1967; two sisters, Edith Davis and twin sister Helen Brooks, on March 27, 2000; and three brothers, Paul, Harry and Thomas Williams.

The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at U. C. Davis & Sons Funeral Home Ltd., 301 W. Washington St., Morris, Ill. Mrs. Harder will lie in state from 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 13, until the time of funeral services at 10:30 a.m. in the First Presbyterian Church, 200 E. Jackson St., Morris, with the Rev. John Mattson officiating. Interment will follow in Evergreen Cemetery.

Serving as her pallbearers will be Scott Heakin, Brian and Brent Harseim, Steve and Christopher Brooks, and Jerry Collins. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Bruce Brooks, Jim Juengst and William Mellon.

Memorial services for Mrs. Harder will also be held at a later date in the First United Methodist Church in Duncan, Okla..

Preferred form of remembrance would be memorial gifts in Mrs. Harder’s memory to First Presbyterian Church, Morris.

Condolences can be extended online to the family at

U.C. Davis & Sons Funeral Home Ltd., Morris, is in charge of local arrangements. For additional information, call the funeral home at (815) 942-0084.

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