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Obituaries
Donna Rae Harder, 79, died May 20th, 2015
Donna Rae Harder, age 79, of Greenwood, WI died Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at her home, following a lengthy illness.

Donna Rae Harder was born on November 24, 1935 at the hospital on 4th Street in Neillsville, WI the daughter of John and Harriet (Leipert) Peterson. She graduated from Neillsville High School in 1953 and on July 25 of that same year she was united in marriage to Hans J. Harder at the Evangelical and Reform Church in Neillsville. They moved to Madison for five years, while Hans attended college. They moved back to Neillsville in 1958, and farmed in the Town of Weston. While they were farming, Donna Rae also drove school bus for the Neillsville School District. She retired from driving, after she was elected to the Neillsville School Board. She served on the school board for ten years. In 2004, they retired from farming and Donna Rae started working at various businesses in the area, including Johnson Garment in Marshfield and for the past ten years at Camper and Recreation in Loyal.

Donna Rae was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother who was devoted to her family. She cherished family traditions and holidays and lived her life believing in strong family values. She rarely missed any of her grandchildren’s school activities, and she loved the family gatherings at the cabin in Hatfield on Lake Arbutus.

Her father was a founding member of Bruce Mound Recreational Area, so Donna Rae was involved with and was a supporter of Bruce Mound throughout her life. Her and Hans even ran the mound for one season.

She was a member of the United Church of Christ in Neillsville, and along with the school board, she also served on the Hospital Board and was a 4-H leader. Donna Rae was immensely creative and talented. She was a huge Green Bay Packer (especially Brett Favre) fan. She enjoyed her neighborhood card parties for 55 years and she loved being outdoors with nature.

She is survived by seven children, Sheryl (Val R.) Casper of Driggs, ID, Tim (Maureen) Harder of Hugo, MN, Cindee (Mark) Hoberg of Monticello, MN, Robin (Amy) Harder of Neillsville, WI, Jeffery (Angie) Harder of Colfax, WI, Christopher (Sandy) Harder of Chippewa Falls, WI and Bradley (Tracy) Harder of Appleton, WI, 16 grandchildren, Patrick & Elyse Casper, Marisa Harder-Chapman (Jon) & Erin Harder, Laura & Michael Hoberg, Nicole Voss, Cassie (Josh) & Derek Harder, Joshua (Jacki) Harder, Chelsie (Chris) Brunner, Jacob (Janelle) & Jeremiah (Brianna) Harder, Bailey & Bryce Harder and Lars Harder, 10 great grandchildren, Sage, Freya & Juniper Harder-Chapman, Tehya Barone, Josiah & Jonah Harder, Averie & Liam Zealley and Ella & Hans Harder.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Hans, her parents, John and Harriet Peterson, a sister, Shirley Coyier and a grandson, Patrick Casper.

A Memorial Service for Donna Rae will be held at 1:00 p.m., Sunday, May 24, 2015 at the United Church of Christ in Neillsville. Pastor Jacoba Koppert will officiate. Music will be provided by Deon Spangler, pianist and Bailey and Chelsie Harder, vocalists. Interment will be in the Marie Louise Chapel Cemetery in Christie, WI. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Saturday at the Gesche Funeral Home and from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., Sunday at the United Church of Christ.

Online Condolences may be made at www.geschefh.com.

The Gesche Funeral Home is assisting Donna Rae’s family with Funeral arrangements.
Royce L. Larsen, 91, died April 21st, 2015
Royce L. Larsen of Neillsville passed away April 21, 2015, nine days before his 92nd birthday, at the Clark County Health Care Center.

Born on April 30, 1923, in Waupaca, to Ralph and Marguerite (Miner) Larsen, he graduated from Manawa High School in 1940. Following graduation, he entered the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCCs), which sparked his love for the outdoors and the beauty of Wisconsin. His passion was helping to preserve forests, water, and soil.

Royce was drafted into the Army during WWII, serving from 1943–1946. For 18 months he was stationed in Hawaii as a radar specialist. He then attended U.W. River Falls, earning a B.S. in agriculture. He married Dorothy Severson on June 11, 1948. He enlisted in the Army Reserves and served two years during the Korean War, stationed in Germany.

Following college and military service, he spent most of his career (28 years) working for the Soil Conservation Service in Neillsville and Stratford. The Larsen family moved to Neillsville in 1961. In his last days Royce still shared memories of the many farmers in Clark and Marathon Counties with whom he partnered to develop soil conservation practices and reduce water pollution.

Royce is survived by his wife of nearly 67 years, Dorothy, along with their three children, Tana (Frank) Schimberg, Brentwood, CA; Rhonda (Rudy) Forjan, Eustis, FL; and Jay (Mary Jo) Larsen, Cottage Grove, MN. He is also survived by six grandchildren: Jason (Valerie) Pischer, Katy (Greg) Furnas, Hannah (Hershall) Brown, Shawna (Christian) Mendenhall, Nicholas (Jamie) Larsen, and Molly (Corey) Eidem; eleven great-grandchildren: Hudson and Ryan Pischer; Jackson, Jordan, and Jett Furnas; Paris Ower; Alivia, Amelia, Jameson, and Jude Larsen; and Mazie Eidem; a brother-in-law, George Severson; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Donna, and brothers, Wayne and Glendon.

A favorite pastime was playing the piano, especially to entertain his grandchildren. Royce had a knack for learning chords and harmonies of familiar melodies “by ear” and never had piano lessons. He liked taking his grandchildren fishing in his boat and camping in his travel trailer. He made lasting memories for them. He enjoyed walks in the woods and teaching his children and grandchildren to identify various plants, trees, and insects. In retirement he was happiest being in the county forest area west of Neillsville or working on his woodland property near Fifield. When declining health kept him homebound, Royce still worked in his backyard raking and composting.

He was a member of Calvary Lutheran Church in Neillsville. A memorial service is planned for 11:00 a.m. on June 13, 2015 at the Calvary Lutheran Church with visitation from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Memorial gifts may be directed to Calvary Lutheran Church.

Online Condolences may be made at www.geschefh.com.

The Gesche Funeral Home is assisting Royce’s family with Funeral arrangements.
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