Ware - Gwendoline R. (Few) Harder-Kirkham, 92, of Ware died on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 with her loving family by her side.
Gwendoline Rose, sister of Mavis Few of England and daughter of the late Mark and Dorothy (Greaves) Few, leaves her eight children; Shirley A. Burns of Manchester, CT., Raymond J. Harder Jr. and his wife Jackie of Granby, CT, Gregory A. Harder and his wife Nancy of Ware, Joel J. Harder of Ware, Peter D. Harder and his fiance' Bonnie Berselli of Ware, Kenneth J. Harder and his wife Maricela of Salinas, CA, Valerie E. Granger and her husband Bruce of Ware, Jason C. Harder of Florence and step-son Daniel Dwyer and his wife Peg from Scarborough, ME, and nephew Trevor in England. She will be dearly missed by her 22 grandchildren: Nicole, Lalaine, Megan, Scott, Michael, Kyle, Joel, Corinna, Mandy, Lindsey, Lauren, Scot, Dylan, Stephanie, Ashley, Kenny, Nick, Christopher, Michael, Phoebe, Emma and Ben as well as 23 great-grandchildren and her extended family and friends… She also leaves her longtime friends, Bea Lavella and Jean Bowler who were known as the “Friday Night Babes”. She was predeceased by her brother Alan Few and her husband William Kirkham.
Gwen was born and raised in London, England, and lived through the bombing of London during World War II. She met and married Raymond J. Harder Sr. who was stationed there as a Crew Chief for a B-17 Bomber. Gwen moved and traveled throughout the U.S. with her husband as he continued his 20-year career in the US Air Force having children born in the states of Louisiana, Puerto Rico, Kansas, and lastly Ware, MA.
Gwendoline worked as a Sears sales associate for the Sears Catalog Store in Ware for many years. In the early 80’s she purchased the Sears Catalog franchise becoming owner/operator before retiring in 1991. While raising her eight children at home Gwen opened her heart even more by fostering newborn babies in her home before they were adopted. She was a board member of the Ware Senior Center, and also served on the Council on Aging for the Town of Ware. Gwen became a hospice volunteer in the late 1990’s reading to patients, providing companionship & support to terminally ill patients for several years. Gwen continued working into her eighties stating that she wanted to keep up on things so as not to become stagnant. Dancing was one of her greatest pleasures, from the time she was a young girl all through her life. If the opportunity arose, she’d gladly step up to the dance floor with one of her sons, or grandsons or her friends… so graceful to watch! She was an avid reader, belonging to a monthly book club with her group of friends and an occasional glass of Riesling. Gwen will be remembered with her beautiful smile and a heart that was always open.
Calling hours will be held Thursday, October 10, 2019 from 4 to 7PM at the Charbonneau Funeral Home in Ware. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her name to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701 and Baystate Home Health & Hospice, 30 Capital Drive, West Springfield, MA 01089.
The family would especially like to recognize the wonderful staff of the Baystate Hospice and her dear friend/caregiver Betty as well as her most recent caregiver team.
Charbonneau Funeral Home, 30 Pleasant St., in Ware is assisting her family with arrangements.
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