Wilhelm Harder

Obituary of Wilhelm Harder

Wilhelm (Bill) Harder - April 22, 1935 - March 27, 2024

Bill passed away on March 27, 2024 after a 5-week stay at the St. Catharines General Hospital.

He was diagnosed with a metastatic tumor of his pancreas in January 2023.  His health was good until  October 2023 at which time his health started to deteriorate and he developed severe back pain.

He will be lovingly remembered by Hannelore, his wife of 59 years, his two daughters and their spouses Linda Annette Washburn (Jeff Washburn) and Susan Kathleen Harder (Shaun Morris), as well as three grandchildren, Martin William Washburn, Nathan James Morris and Lauren Hanna Morris, his sister Renate (John Kordos), and sister-in-law Hildegard Harder. 

He was predeceased by his mother Frieda Klaassen (1945), his step-mother Kaete Janzen (1984), his father Wilhelm Sr. (1988), his brother Helmut 1933 as an infant, and his brother Herbert (2021).  

Wilhelm was born at home on a farm in Halbstadt, West Prussia (which is now Poland) on April 22, 1935.  He enjoyed his early childhood until the effects of the second world war were felt.  He and brother Herbert lost their mother in August 1945 when Bill was 10 years old.  At that time, his father was away in the German Army,  so the two brothers were taken in by a Polish farmer who had taken over his grandfather's farm.  In 1947, Bill and his brother were able to leave Poland with a former neighbour and be reunited with their father in West Germany.  In the same year, his father remarried and a new family was established under very impoverished conditions.  His sister Renate was born in 1949.  

In 1953, the family decided to immigrate to Canada, coming to the Niagara area.  Since he was 18 years old, he was obligated to work on the farm for several months, which he did not like at all. After that he had a job at a service station washing cars and doing odd jobs. This is where he learned English.  He had several other jobs in  St. Catharines, until he went to Business College.  He then obtained an office  job at the head office of Volkswagen Canada in Toronto in 1963, where he worked for over thirty years until his retirement in 1994.

He was married to Hannelore (Goertzen) at the NIagara United Mennonite Church in 1965.  They bought a house in Scarborough and started their family. Linda was born in 1967 and Susan in 1968. In 1998, both daughters moved to the United States and Bill & Hannelore decided to move back to the Niagara area where they bought a condo townhouse in St. Catharines.  After they were settled, Bill decided to get a part-time job as a driver for St. Catharines Volkswagen.  He kept that job until the pandemic for 19 years. 

For 10 years he was worship leader in the German Service and he was a volunteer driver for Heidehof for almost 20 years. 

Over the years they were able to take many car trips to Texas and California to visit their daughters and their families, as well as trips to Europe. They traveled to almost every state and every province.  A treasured family trip was in 2004 to Germany and Poland to show Bill and Hannelore’s ancestral homeland to their daughters.

We as a family are thankful for a life well lived and will remember him with fondness.               

Visitation:  Monday April 1 6:30-8:00 pm at Niagara United Mennonite Church, 1775 Stone Road, Niagara-on-the Lake

Funeral: Tuesday April 2 at 11:00 at Niagara United Mennonite Church, 1775 Stone Road, Niagara-on-the Lake

Interment:  Tuesday April 2 after the service.  Niagara Lakeshore Cemetery 1483 Lakeshore Road, NOTL

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Mennonite Central Committee.

The funeral service will be live streamed. Click Here to be redirected to the Niagara United Mennonite Church YouTube channel.  The service will remain available for 7 days following the service.

A Memorial Tree was planted for Wilhelm
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Tallman Funeral Homes - Vineland
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