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The Mexico Ledger - Mexico, MO
  • Harriet Harshbarger, 93, of Columbia dies

  • Obituary published Jan. 14, 2013 in The Mexico Ledger
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  • Harriet Pauline Mossholder Harshbarger, 93, now of Lenoir-Woods Retirement Complex in Columbia, Missouri, died Thursday, January 10, 2013 of complications caused by old age. Pauline was born April 12, 1919 in Dixon, Illinois. Her parents were Paul Rhodes Mossholder and Minnie Ella Tourtillott Moss-holder. Named Harriet for both her grandmothers, the new parents began to call her Pauline when one of the maternity ward nurses remarked she was the "spitting image" of her father, Paul. In the spring of 1920 she moved with her parents to Michigan where they bought and operated dairies in Farewell, Rosebush and Mount Pleasant. In 1926, the family returned to her mother's ancestral homestead in southern Lee County, Illinois, four miles north of LaMoille. Pauline's great-great-grandparents (the Dexter family) were the first white settlers of Amboy, Illinois and other great-great-grandparents (the Tourtillott family) broke the prairie sod near LaMoille where the farm deed was signed by President Millard Fillmore showing it was the first registration of the property. Here Pauline grew to adulthood in the original house filled with family pictures, furniture, dishes, etc. There was even a museum filled with family memorabilia.; Pauline determined to become a history teacher as a result.
    After graduation from high school in Amboy, Illinois, in 1937, she attended Illinois State Normal University (now called Illinois State) where she received a Bachelor of Education Degree in 1941. During her college career she was quite active in Phi Gamma Mu Honorary serving as the vice-president. She became a high school History, English, and Latin teacher and taught in Stanford and Gibson City, Illinois. She continued her studies in history and received her Master's Degree in American History from the University of Colorado in 1947.
    On January 1, 1948 she married Don Milton Harshbarger in LaMoille, Illinois. Don was a World War II veteran who returned home and decided to farm with his parents, so Pauline moved to his family farm located 10 miles north of Centralia, Missouri. She lived there for the next 59 years until ill health forced her to relocate to Lenoir-Woods in Columbia, Missouri in 2007. Pauline spent much time keeping the family going and everybody fed as hired men, elderly family members, children, and visitors flocked to her table. Lots of company came throughout the year to spend time on a farm and Pauline was the perfect hostess. Her husband's family was one of the earliest settlers in Central Missouri and she quickly learned their heirloom family recipes including the specialty of angel food cake with spoon custard. Over the decades many newcomers to the neighborhood and many people recovering from illness enjoyed this treat. She quit teaching school and became an active community volunteer who was happiest doing something related to history. She served as Regent for the Mexico Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and at the time of her death had just completed her term as Patriotic instructor for the Ann Hawkins Gentry Tent, Daughters of Union Veterans (DUV) in Columbia, Missouri. At age 92 she attended their State Conference as the tent delegate and had a great time. She was a charter member of the Centralia Historical Society and served on the board for many years plus chaired the docent committee and worked on any other committee where volunteers were required. In her spare time, she corresponded with hundreds of friends and family members keeping them updated about family activities plus kept the far flung family in contact with each other.
    Page 2 of 2 - Additionally, Pauline taught Sunday School in the elementary level for about 40 years at Friendship Christian Church north of Centralia. She served as chair of their Vacation Bible School for years and was the Community Leader of the F & L Hustlers 4-H Club. She also was the project leader for photography and food for about 25 years. She was President of the Christian Women's Fellowship (CWF) for the church and also president of the Excelsior Extension Women's Club. Later in life, she and her husband transferred their membership to the First Christian Church in Centralia where Pauline was active in an adult Sunday School Class, an officer in CWF, and helped prepare and serve almost every funeral dinner for years. When her children were young she was an officer in PTA, was active in Band Parents, and served as the liaison between the Centralia school system and international students for the American Field Service Exchange which sponsored students at Centralia High School. At Christmas 2012, Christmas cards were sent to students she had worked with as long as 40 years ago from Thailand, the Philippines, Iceland, and Japan, etc. Even when old age forced her to move to Lenoir-Woods she remained active and became part of their welcoming committee, helping orient new residents to their new environment.
    She will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by two daughters: Dr. Maryellen McVicker (Dr. Wiley) of Boonville, Missouri, and Dr. Paula Alshouse (Alan) of DeLand, Florida, two grandchildren: Laura McVicker Wax (David) of Boonville, Missouri and Todd McVicker of Centralia, Missouri; two twin great-granddaughters: Abigail (Abbie) and Magdalena (Maggie) Wax of Boonville, Missouri, one brother: Donald Mossholder of DeKalb, Illinois, one sister-in-law: Mildred Harshbarger Rowe of Holyoke, Colorado, five nephews, three nieces, and numerous other relatives. She was preceded in death by both her parents, her husband, one brother (William Albert Mossholder who died as an infant), two brother-in-laws (Glenn Harsh-barger and Herschel Rowe), three sister-in-laws (Lucy Harshbarger Rowe, Marlene Jones Mossholder, and Margie Eichele Harshbarger), and one niece (Glenda Harshbarger Fuehrer).
    Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at the Centralia First Christian Church in Centralia, Mo. Interment will be in the Centralia City Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at the Oliver Funeral Home in Centralia, Mo. A special celebration of life memorial service will be 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at the Lenoir-Woods Chapel in Columbia, Mo. Memorials are suggested to the Centralia Historical Society, P.O. Box 125, Centralia, Mo 65240.
    Condolences may also be made to the family at oliverfuneralhome@yahoo.com.

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