Vernon Andrew Harding, 87, died in the morning hours of Feb. 2, 2007.
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His funeral will be held on Saturday at the Springfield Faith Center, 600 Hayden Bridge Way in Springfield. Interment will follow at Lane Memorial Gardens in Eugene.
Vernon was born April 6, 1919 in McHenry, N.D. to Thomas Lee Harding and Regina Ehlers.
He grew up on a farm near McHenry, and at times, was asked to babysit his younger sisters. One time he fixed rice for lunch and served it before it was fully cooked. His sister, Eunice, commented, “It played Jingle Bells all the way down.”
Another time he took his sisters swimming to Hoochie Koochie Lake. Jean did not want to go in because of leeches, so Vernon told her that she was going in and picked her up by her ankles and dunked her head in.
He graduated from eighth grade at McHenry, N.D. in 1933. He joined the Civilian Conservation Corps at the age of 17 to help earn money for his family. He worked in Escalante, Utah for two years as a dining room orderly for the officers. His buddy, Mr. Rivinius, would order two extra meals from the officers menu, then when the officers were gone they would sit down and enjoy some really good meals.
When he returned from the CCC to North Dakota he worked on his Uncle Henry’s farm in Hamer, N.D where he started going to dances and met his wife, Clara. He saved enough money to buy his first car, a 1929 Model A Ford. In 1939 he loaded up his car with Clara, her brother and sister and drove to Eugene.
On June 14, 1940 he married Clara Irene Ellefson in Eugene where they lived for 65 years. Vern and Clara loved to dance — they took ballroom dancing classes at Arthur Murray Studio of Dance and learned the polka, square dance, and even the twist.
After working as a carpenter foreman for Guske Brothers for many years, Vernon started his own company: V A Harding Construction Company. He built many commercial buildings in the Eugene/Springfield area including the Women’s PE Building at the University of Oregon, the Auto Mechanics building at Lane Community College, a Sky Bridge at Sacred Heart Hospital, the west grandstands at Hayward Field, and many schools in the Eugene, Bethel, Springfield and Fern Ridge school districts.
Vernon also enjoyed raising beef cattle and ran a logging business. He and his wife were members of Knights of Pythias, the Elks Lodge and the Moose Lodge for more than 50 years. In November 2005, Vern and Clara moved to Halfway to live with their daughter, Rhea Gambill, and her husband, Pastor Rob. Vernon was a member of Pine Valley Christian Center in Halfway where he enjoyed attending church and made many friends.
He is survived his daughter Rhea Gambill and her husband, Pastor Rob, of Halfway; his sons, Lon Harding and his wife Kathi and Redge Harding and his wife Lynda, all of Eugene; 10 grandchildren, Tami Wyncoop and her husband Jim, Dee Dee Gerber and her husband Mark, Ed Litten and his wife Lucretian, Tom Gambill and his wife Jenny, Shemuel Harding, Sarah Parker and her husband Jeremy, Uri Harding and his wife Rachel, Alyson Harding, Joshua Gambill, and Tyler Harding; 15 great-grandchildren, Shandell, Angela, Valeena, Mitchell, Isaac, Amanda, Regis, Cody, Tanner, Allyson, Kylee, Logan, Shanna, Ryan, and Nathanial; two brothers, Darrell Harding and his wife Phyllis of Portland, and Cleo Harding and his wife Pat of McMinnville; a sister, Jean Hamreus of Tigard; brother-in-law Clifford Ellefson and his wife Lorna of Brownsville; two sisters-in-law, Peggy Gross and her husband Walvin of Portland and Gladys Hague of Eugene.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Leila Beck, Cecile Fisher, Phyllis Gray, LaVonne Hall, and Eunice Deutscher; and brothers, Ralph, Alden, Maynard Harding and Barton Ehlers.
Those wishing to make a memorial contribution in memory of Vernon may do so to the Assembly of God Church Missions through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, February 9, 2007
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor