Published 12:00 am Monday, July 20, 2009
Gudrun P. Harding, 97
Gudrun Paulson Harding, age 97, of Austin, Minn. passed away on July 13, 2009.
Gudrun grew up on a farm in South Dakota and attended college at St. Cloud Teachers’ College and at Bemidji State Teachers’ College where she met her husband, Russell Harding. They were married on June 15, 1940 and spent the next five years teaching at the Chippewa Indian Reservation at Onamia, Minn. Gudrun and Russell worked with Native American parents raising a large garden and canning the produce to be used for a very successful school lunch program. She continued to teach elementary grade students for the next 43 years, primarily at the Lincoln school in Austin. She did graduate work at the University of Minnesota.
“Goodie” was passionate about her students, social justice and the protection of the environment and was active in the DFL party, AARP, the Retired Teachers Association, and the Hormel Nature Center. She took a lively interest in her nieces and nephews, and in the hundreds of students who had been in her classroom, many of whom will remember being intently quizzed about their pursuits and interests. Several of them traveled with the Hardings in the mobile science lab and throughout the world. They invited children of migrants to share their home so they could complete their school year in Minnesota. Goodie was known to care for the pets of her students when the families vacationed and had in her possession until she died, the class pictures of many of her students.
She completed a one-year sabbatical in England studying the English school system and continued to travel throughout Europe in the VW bus with Russell during her final year of teaching at age 65. She and Russell had been married 65 years when he died in 2005.
Gudrun is survived by her sister, Virginia Zoebisch and was preceded in death by her husband and by her sister Astrid and brother Evert.
A memorial service for Gudrun Harding will held on Monday, July 20, 2009 in the chapel at St. Mark’s Lutheran Home, 400 15 Ave. SW Austin at 11:30 a.m. Memorials are preferred to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in lieu of flowers.