April 5, 1925 – August 13, 2021
Life Story of Katherine Harder (nee Fast)
Although it is always sad to say farewell, our hearts are full of gratitude for her life, as this obituary could very likely have been written 63 years ago if it were not for a modern day miracle. This is her story:
Katherine was born in Russia where her father was a teacher. When he learned that he had to teach the communist ideology, he sold his possessions, packed up his family and moved to the Canadian prairies when Katherine was only six weeks old.
She grew up in Manitoba with six siblings and became a teacher as she loved spending time with children. Family, music and church were a major part of her life. She moved to Chilliwack, B.C. with her family in 1947 and continued her teaching career. She started and conducted a girl’s choir at the Greendale MB church in 1950 with more than 30 young women joining in. There were numerous performances including one for CBC Radio.
She married Peter Harder on August 15, 1953 and had two children, David and Louise, in the following years.
In 1958, she suffered a brain aneurysm that ruptured while she was leading her girl’s choir in a performance at a church in Vancouver. The well-respected brain surgeon at VGH said he would operate if she was still alive four days after the rupture. Many friends and family in BC and Manitoba were praying for her during this time.
The operation began after four days but the chance of surviving it in those days was only 50%. There was also a 48% chance of brain damage. With Divine intervention, a skilled surgical team, and around the clock nursing care from her sister Helen, Katherine survived the operation and returned to full health to lead an active life serving God and her family for another 63 years!
She was a teacher at Greendale Elementary School, Central Elementary School, Sardis Elementary School and taught kindergarten at Watson Elementary School. She lead a Pioneer Girls mid-week program at Greendale MB Church, taught Daily Vacation Bible School in the summers and led a Bible study for young women with children from 1971-1989.
She was a godly women filled with grace, kindness and joy. We are so thankful that she was able to raise her family and be an active part of the lives of her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Katherine passed away in the Chilliwack General Hospital a few days after a fall in the family home where she lived for almost 60 years.
She was predeceased by her father, Alexander Fast, mother Katharina Fast, sisters Gertrude Driediger, Frieda Fast and Helen Fast, brothers-in-law Jake Driediger and Elvin Neufeld, niece Brenda Neufeld and nephew Roger Neufeld.
She is survived by her loving husband Peter, sister Johanna Neufeld, brother John (Mary) Fast, brother Dave (Shirlee) Fast, children David and Marianne Harder, Louise and Al Pichler, grandchildren Breanne (Luke) Dejong, Jaclyn (Scott) Widenmaier, Rachel (Danny) Tourville, Kurt Pichler, Alex (Janice) Pichler, Eric Pichler and ten great grandchildren.
We are grateful for the excellent care provided by wonderful neighbours, paramedics and health care professionals and how God took her home.
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