OBITUARY: Elma Ruth (Funk) Harms

Elma Ruth (Funk) Harms was born on June 16, 1935, the fourth child of Valentine R. and Margaret (Goertz) Funk. Her birthday was one year and one day after her brother Eldon and they enjoyed celebrating their birthdays together. Their family of six consisted of Gladwin, Elmer (died at 15 mo.), Eldon, Elma, LaVerna and Marlin. She grew up on a farm west of Lehigh, attended the Plainview one-room grade school close to their home, and graduated from Lehigh High School in 1954. One of her earliest memories was spending time with all her Funk cousins since her father came from a family of nine. She also learned to be a good cook from helping her mother in the garden and kitchen. The family attended First Mennonite Church in Hillsboro and Elma was baptized upon her confession of faith as a young adult. She joined Grace Hill Mennonite Church after her marriage to Homer, later adding an associate membership at Faith Mennonite Church when they could no longer make the trip out to the country for church.   One memory from her childhood, which stayed with Elma her entire life, was the death of her oldest brother, Gladwin (13), when she was only 5 years old. This loss in their family was a great sorrow, which she never forgot. As a young adult, Elma moved to Newton and began working at the Ripley Hotel where she met her future husband, Homer Harms. Homer and Elma were married on April 17, 1959, and enjoyed 55 years of marriage until Homer died in 2014. In 1960, a son, Marvin Lee was born followed by a daughter, Gwenda Ruth, in 1964. The family enjoyed traveling and camping together, which Homer and Elma continued after the children grew up. They were members of the Buffalo Sam’s Camping Club of McPherson for many years and enjoyed many trips and close friendships through the club. Being a social person, Elma enjoyed the many family get-togethers and also going to Bluegrass Festivals. She enjoyed playing her keyboard at these occasions and could play just about any song by ear, which is a skill we all enjoyed and marveled at.  She was a wonderful hostess and worked in food service for many years. Homer and Elma moved to Kidron Bethel Village in 2010 when they could no longer manage their home and they enjoyed the many friendships and activities offered there. She flourished under the good care at Kidron. Elma was always planning the next thing, whether it was recipe club, bingo or making her crafts for the Annual December Craft Fair at Kidron. Even in her last two weeks, she was able to play Christmas songs in the dining room for everyone. She enjoyed looking forward to her Sunday afternoon visits each week with LaVerna and Nancy. Many good memories were made during these visits. Just 10 days before she died, she was able to hold her 5-month-old great-grandson, which was a gracious gift from God to her.  When Elma realized she was facing the end of her life, she shared with Jana, her granddaughter, her fear of death from her memories of losing her brother, Gladwin. Jana asked her what it was that she was fearing the most and she said she didn’t know if she could get across the river alone! Jana said not to worry, because Jesus would be there to carry her across the river when she got there. She died peacefully on Dec. 17, at the age of 86, at Kidron Bethel Healthcare, carried in the loving arms of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The family would like to thank Good Shepherd Hospice for their wonderful care in her last week of life.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, two brothers, Gladwin and Elmer, brother-in-law George Schierling, sister-in-law Esther Funk and brother-in-law Wayne Harms.

She is survived by her son, Marvin (Nancy) Harms of rural Newton, daughter Gwenda Harms of New Jersey, Eldon Funk of Hillsboro, LaVerna Schierling of North Newton, Marlin (Sharolyn) Funk of rural Lehigh, six grandchildren-Jana, Laura, Brett (Shannon) and Sara Harms, Joshua (Sarah) Alexander, and Justin Harms, great-grandson Jedidiah Harms, sister-in-law Vivian Harms of Newton, many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

Visitation was 5-9 p.m. Monday at Petersen Funeral Home and Memorial Service was on Tuesday at Faith Mennonite Church at 11 a.m. Memorials have been designated for Faith Mennonite Church, Kidron Bethel Healthcare Center and Good Shepherd Hospice.

Tags from the story
0 replies on “OBITUARY: Elma Ruth (Funk) Harms”