Elva “Jeanne” Harger, 92

Elva "Jeanne" Harger

    Thief River Falls – Elva “Jeanne” Harger, 92, passed away on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016 in her home surrounded by those she loved. She brightened the lives of all who knew her, just as music brought light and joy to her.
    Funeral services to celebrate her life will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12 at the United Methodist Church in Thief River Falls, with Pastor Jeff Gustafson officiating. Interment will be at Lone Oak Cemetery in Fourtown at 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 14.  
    Visitation will be held Thursday, Aug. 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. with a 7 p.m. prayer service at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls.
    Elva “Jeanne” Winter Harger was born Feb. 13, 1924 in Richwood, Ohio, to Marion Winter and Eva M. Cowgill Winter. She was baptized and confirmed at First Methodist Church in Richwood, Ohio. Jeanne valued education. She graduated high school from Clairbourne Richwood in 1942 and then attended Capital University, Ohio; Northwestern University, Illinois; and Ohio Wesleyan University.
    Jeanne married Frank Hartley Harger on Nov. 23, 1944. Soon after, they moved from Ohio to Thief River Falls, where they raised their five sons. In addition to being a mother, Jeanne worked as a music instructor and enhanced the lives of those she worked with and taught. She taught music in Ohio for 12 years prior to starting her teaching career for School District 564 (both in Thief River Falls and St. Hiliare), where she remained for 27 years. Upon her retirement, one colleague stated that it wasn’t Christmas until Jeanne put on her beautiful concert. Another remembered her as the woman with a smile; she always had a smile for the kids. Outside of her work with the school district, Jeanne served as accompanist for the United Methodist Church and taught piano lessons to many young people in the Thief River Falls community. After retiring, she returned to Ohio where she married her second husband, Paul, whom she cared for until the time of his death.
    Jeanne’s love for music was infectious. She received her first piano from her father around the same age most children begin school. She also was very talented on the accordion. Around the age of 13, she performed at Carnegie Hall for a governor’s ball, and at 16, she was invited with her classmates of Lazarus Music Center to play in New York at the state fair. Their performance was broadcast coast-to-coast. Jeanne shared her musical talents in Thief River Falls as well. Jeanne made many dear musical friends and partners with whom she made beautiful music. With James Solsten, Jeanne arranged a master works chorale and orchestra production of Handel’s Messiah. Other concerts included brilliant piano and organ duets with Marcia Knuttila.
    While music made up a large portion of Jeanne’s life, she always saved room for chocolate and ice cream. She loved spending time with friends and family, especially her grandchildren. She made sure that each person she knew and loved felt uniquely cared for by her. She also enjoyed a good conversation and political debate. She brought happiness to each person she touched.
    Jeanne is survived by a half-sister, Mary Jo Mowry; children: F. Rory (Bobbi Anderson) Harger,  K. Rowdy Harger, M. Rick Harger, B. Randy (Laurie) Harger, and P. Ryan Harger; grandchildren: Sarah (Ross) Ryan, Rebecca (Brandon) Ballard, Rachel (John) Cox, Samuel (Paige Panek) Harger, Jeffrey “Rowdy,” Isabele, and Ruby Harger, Riley, Reese, and Ramsey Harger, Jordy (Jessica) and Chaz Harger; great-grandchildren: Maren and Sofie Ryan, Brittyn, Sydney and Eli Reierson, and Emmit Ballard, Aisling and Maeve Cox, and Aubrey and Connor Harger; and many others who called Jeanne family or friend.
    She was preceded in death by her grandparents and parents, an infant brother, Rory, her husbands Frank and Paul, and her dear friend James Solsten. May she find her final resting place amongst the choir of angels.
    Condolences may be sent at www.johnsonfuneralservice.com.