John Boyd Harden passed away October 4th, 2017, in Moose Jaw, SK. Johnny, the youngest of nine children, was born July 23rd, 1933 in Pleasantdale, Saskatchewan to Claude and Pauline (nee Sorenson) Harden. He was raised on the family homestead near Killdeer, SK with his eight siblings, and attended Macworth School.
Johnny spent most of his 84 years on the family farm, but at the age of 16, the family moved south to Montana. He helped custom harvest with his father and two brothers, until fall, when the family went to Kalispell, Montana to work on the Hungry Horse Dam. Although Johnny had to wait until he turned 17 to start work there, over the next couple years, his dad and six of the brothers worked at one time on the dam. Johnny's heart always remained on the farm and the homestead, as he would return home every spring and fall to help his dad and his brother, Buckie, put in the crop and harvest. On June 10th, 1951, he moved home with his parents for good.
On April 17th, 1956, Johnny married the love of his life, Beryl Agnes Flynn, in Glasgow, Montana. They were blessed with six children: Jody, born November 5th, 1956; Tammie, born June 23rd, 1960; Ward, born June 19th, 1963; Heather, born December 3rd, 1966; Jason, born May 2nd, 1970; and Shane born August 20th, 1971. They mourned the loss of a child at birth in July 1959.
Over the years, together with his wife and family, Johnny raised sheep and cattle, milked cows and farmed. He took great pride in the Simmental cattle that they imported from Switzerland in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Johnny liked to see progress and was one of the first in his area to acquire a four wheel drive tractor and an air seeder. He also adopted the practices of continuous cropping and straight-cutting at harvest. As his children grew up, Johnny did his utmost to expand the farm and make a place for his sons and daughters. If he could have had his way, none of his children would ever have moved very far from home.
Johnny was an avid sportsman. As a young man, he played hockey, a lot of baseball and his family remembers many summer weekends spent on the ball field. He also loved to watch his Maple Leafs and Blue Jays.
The Harden farm was the location of many family gatherings, and Johnny's family was a source of great pride and joy to him. Many nieces and nephews, cousins, and grandchildren, share cherished memories of times spent on the homestead. The farm saw many ball games and heard a lot of singing and music by the family. Johnny's most prized possession was his Martin guitar. He took every opportunity to play it for friends and family, sharing his love of music. He always encouraged his children and grandchildren to sing and play whenever they gathered. In his later years, inspired by his brother Buckie and the great steel guitar players in his beloved country western music, Johnny purchased a steel guitar and learned to play for his own enjoyment. He will be dearly missed.
Johnny is survived by his children; son Jody (Deidre) Harden, daughter Tammie (Ray) Varley, son Ward (Melanie) Harden, daughter Heather (Greg) McCuaig, son Jason (Shelley) Harden, son Shane Harden (Kim Rusk); grandchildren Jeremy (Dena) Harden, Trista (Steve) Dowling, Josh (Jamie) Harden, Colter (Katie) Harden, Travis (Nichole) Nelson, Tara (Cole) Labbee, Jarrod (Alana) Balliett, Jordan (Brandon) Kelsch, Ben Harden, Dale Harden, Michael (Emily Kay) Harden, Colton McCuaig, Cody McCuaig, Taryn Harden, Dan Harden, Dylan Harden, Owen Wilson, Jonathan Harden, Isaac Harden, Shane Rusk; great grandchildren Rylie Dowling, Landon Dowling, Matalie Nelson, Jordyn Nelson, Cayden Labbee, Kylan Labbee, Carter Harden, Hunter Harden, Tyke Harden, Sadie Harden, Brandt Balliett, Lance Balliett, Hannah Balliett, Ellie Kelsch, Erika Kelsch, Chenelle Grant, Emily Harden and Gabe Harden. John is also survived by his brother Wallace Harden.
John was predeceased by his wife Beryl (2011) and baby (1959); parents Claude & Pauline (nee Sorenson) Harden; siblings Margaret, Clifford, Earl, Helen, Claudie, Lloyd and Buckie.
Funeral Service was held on Tuesday, October 10, 2017, at the Killdeer Community Hall, Killdeer, SK, at 1:00 p.m., with Lionel Moffatt officiant. The active pallbearers were Jeremy Harden, Jarrod Balliett, Ben Harden, Dan Harden, Colton McCuaig and Jonathan Harden. The eulogy was given by Johnny’s children. The picture tribute was shared by Heather’s family. Guitar and vocal selections were performed by Jody, Josh and Jeremy Harden. Interment took place at the Killdeer Cemetery. Donations in Johnny’s memory to the Killdeer Hall and the Killdeer Cemetery were greatly appreciated.
“Johnny was lots of fun, reflect what he projected.”