HARDER, Marva Ruth (MacDonald)

September 25, 1942 – February 1, 2022

On February 1, 2022, our beloved Marva was called into the glorious presence of her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, as her grandchildren sang, “Nearer My God to Thee.” Releasing her was such ‘sweet sorrow.’

She was predeceased by her father, Rev. Bill MacDonald in 1956, her mother May MacDonald in 2007 and her brother Neil MacDonald in 2009. She is survived by her husband Duane of 57 years; three children and their spouses, Carla (Dean) Adams (Cambridge, ON), Cheryl (Craig) Webber (Lethbridge, AB), Lowell (Heather) Harder (Redwood Meadows, AB); 28 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren; and sister, Judy (Bill) Snyder (Carstairs, AB).

Marva was born on September 25, 1942 in Eckville, Alberta and three years later her father accepted a call to pastor the Crossfield Baptist Church. On their first Sunday, a shy little girl stood with her face buried in her mother’s coat with her black ringlets drooping down her shoulders.  This caught the attention of a four-year-old boy who later became her husband. Marva’s exposure to adversity started as a newborn. Two babies born at the Eckville Hospital contracted whooping cough. Marva was the one that survived. At age nine Marva caught polio when it swept through the Crossfield area. She spent a year of her life in the Junior Red Cross Hospital in Calgary. The doctors said she would not walk again, but by the grace of God, perseverance and determination, she set aside her wheelchair for crutches, then braces and finally achieved walking shoes.  

Marva trained as a legal secretary at Henderson Business College in Calgary. She then attended Northwest Baptist Theological College in Vancouver. Duane Harder, from her hometown and home church was also studying there. He became more than a trusted friend in these three years. Following graduation with a Bachelor of Religious Education, they married and went on to pastor churches in Campbell River, Castlegar and Vernon, B.C. In retirement Duane and Marva moved to Bragg Creek, Alberta to be closer to family, and more recently to Grande Avenue Village in Cochrane, Alberta.

She was committed to the call of God on Duane’s life. This meant carrying the administrative weight and faithful prayer for his church development ministry which required considerable travel; along with managing the home in his absence.  Looking from the outside in, Marva might have been noted as a perfectionist. However, from the inside looking out, developing order and organizational systems helped her conserve energy and navigate more safely. Marva allowed the circumstances of her life to make room for God. There was nothing too small to pray about — like a lost shopping list. Her complete dependence on God gave Him a large place to fill.

Marva was a beautiful and rare flower. Our family will miss her love, kindness, faith, steadfastness, and sense of dignity. We will forever cherish her memory. She was ours for a time, God’s daughter for eternity.

A Celebration of Marva’s life will take place at Crossfield Baptist Church (285176 Highway 2A Crossfield, Alberta) on Friday, February 18, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. Interment will be at the Crossfield Cemetery prior to the service at 1:30 p.m.

A livestream of the Celebration of Life can be viewed at the following link: www.facebook.com/crossfieldbaptistchurch

If desired, memorial donations may be made in Marva’s name to the Cochrane Pregnancy Care Centre (Box 1612, Cochrane, Alberta AB T4C 1B5) www.cochranepreg.com.

Arrangements entrusted to Bridget Halfyard, Funeral Director

Cochrane Country Funeral Home – cochrane@piersons.ca – 403-932-1039

  1. On 08/02/2022 at 8:33 pm Michael Killough Said:

    It’s with both sadness and joy that we send our condolences for your loss. Denise and I built many precious years of memories with the whole Harder family in Castlegar and in Vernon. Marva will be greatly missed, but we are grateful that she is now in the presence of our Lord.

  2. On 09/02/2022 at 12:30 pm Guy and Lynda McGuffin Said:

    Dear Duane, Lynda and I extend our condolences and deepest sympathy to you as you mourn the loss of your lovely wife Marva. The two of you certainly were childhood sweethearts weren’t you.
    Our hearts go out to you and your family at this difficult time.
    May God give you peace and comfort in the knowledge that Marva is at home with the Lord.

  3. On 09/02/2022 at 2:27 pm George Schmidt Said:

    Dear Duane, Barb & I extend our heartfelt condolences to you & family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. I know how much Marva meant to you, she will be sorely missed I’m sure.
    I really miss our times together…

    George & Barb Schmidt

  4. On 10/02/2022 at 7:05 pm The Pages Said:

    Sending our heart felt condolences, Duane and family. Thankful for our friendship over so many years; she was and is a beautiful lady and soul. She leaves such a wonderful legacy. Love from Harv, Bev and Laurie

  5. On 17/02/2022 at 5:10 pm Ardy Wyse Said:

    My love goes out to you beautiful people and good friends. Marva loved you all, and us as well.
    She was a great friend to me. Not many families are blessed with such a mom. I know you will cherish her forever. I’m thinking there is a line up of people who welcomed her into heaven!
    Love to you, Ardy

  6. On 17/02/2022 at 10:38 pm Suzanne Knoch Said:

    When I heard of Marva’s passing, I experienced the same gut-wrenching feeling I had before Christmas, when our friend, Ted Byfield, passed away. I was left with a profound sense of loss in both cases. Marva wasn’t someone I saw regularly, but whenever I did see her it was a highlight of my day. She loved me, without a doubt. She cared about me, without a doubt. The love of God was all over that woman. After we would talk, usually before or after a service, I was always left wanting to talk more. When I think of her, I also remember being so aware of her beauty, both on the inside and the outside. Honestly, she glowed . . . and a more gracious woman I never did meet. It’s crazy, but I am sobbing as I write this letter. I truly miss her, and I know I always will, like Ted. I also know why I will miss her, and it’s because God touched me through her, indelibly. I have no doubt that she has left her mark on many people, similar to Ted Byfield.
    The contrast between the two of them is striking. Ted was a gregarious man who influenced countless thousands of people over the span of his career as a teacher, journalist, and editor; Marva was a quiet, tender-hearted woman who influenced countless people she came into contact with through her role as a wife, mother, and friend. They were similar in that they both love the Lord with all their heart, and soul, and strength, unabashedly, lived authentically, and cared deeply for that which God laid on their hearts.

  7. On 18/02/2022 at 5:34 pm Chris and Karen Wood Said:

    Dear Marva always took the time to chat with us and our children. We are grateful we had the opportunity to meet her a number of times in Bragg Creek! She loved the Lord and others! One day we will meet again! Love to all the family as they temporarily say goodbye❤️
    Chris and Karen Wood

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