Merle E. Harder

Posted 6/11/24

GROTON — Merle E. Harder passed away Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls at the age of 78. A Memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at St. …

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Merle E. Harder

Posted

GROTON — Merle E. Harder passed away Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls at the age of 78.

A Memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Groton. Rev. Jeremy Yeadon and Rev. Craig Crams will officiate.

Paetznick-Garness Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
Visitation will be held for one hour prior to services.

Merle was born to Frank and Lois (Christopherson) Harder on Aug. 16, 1945. He grew up a farm boy with his parents and two brothers.

After graduation from high school, Merle set out for Seattle, Wash., where he worked for Boeing aircraft. After two years, he realized he missed his home, so he moved back to Wolsey. He worked at Goodyear Tire in Huron.

In 1974 he met the love of his life, Janet Rohwer. They were united in marriage on Dec. 27, 1975 at St. John’s Lutheran church in Groton.

They lived on a farm in Wolsey while Janet finished her classes at NSU and began teaching music in Tulare.

The following year, they moved to Groton to take over farming for Janet’s parents, Lawrence and Annabeth Rohwer. Merle farmed, drove school bus, and finally became the Building and Grounds Supervisor for the Groton school system.

Merle loved serving and helping people. He served as a volunteer firefighter for 17 years. He held various positions in the fire department. He was elected to serve on the Groton city council for 11 years. After 26 years working in the Groton school system, he retired to their home on Enemy Swim Lake.

Merle could oftentimes be found in his shop fixing broken and worn-out toys or building something creative. He loved collecting old toys, old fishing gear, and old tools. One of his favorite pastimes was fishing, especially with his buddy, Haden. He liked playing cards. Many hands of pinochle were played with friends! In his younger years, he enjoyed going deer hunting out west with his hunting buddies. And, everyone knew his love for Elvis and his music!

Merle was a happy soul who loved life! He enjoyed being with people of all ages. He loved to visit and make people smile and laugh. He never met a stranger who didn’t become a friend! Merle’s biggest joy was his family. He was in his glory when his family could be all around him. He loved playing with his grandchildren and watching them grow up. They were his pride and joy!

Merle is survived by his wife, Janet, and his four sons: Brian and Michelle Harder, Corey and Brenda Harder, TJ and Marcy Harder, and Adam Harder and April Abeln. He is also survived by his nine grandchildren: Courtney Roundtree, Malorie Harder, McKayla Harder and Tony Muesch, Maggie Harder, Rayce Harder and Serenity Johnson, Alexis Harder and Wyatt Lone, Halee Harder, Haden Harder, and Axel Abeln. Merle was also blessed with one great-grandchild, Gideon Roundtree. He is also survived by two sisters-in-law, one brother-in-law, two nieces, two nephews, numerous cousins, one uncle, and one aunt.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Lois Harder; his brothers, Frankie Harder and Keith and Lilly Harder; one sister-in-law and one brother-in-law.

Visit www.paetznick-garness.com