Helen Roberta Harding
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October 18, 1932
February 21, 2014
Helen Roberta Harding, the former Miss Bobbie Brown, left us too soon on February 21, 2014, due to complications from a brain injury suffered in a fall. Our mom was born in 1932 in the orange groves of Polk County, Florida, as a child of the Great Depression. She told us stories of shoes made of old tires, of carrying her baby brother around for months after he was bitten on the leg by a water moccasin and nearly died, a small town where everyone helped out their neighbor, and of family trips to the fish camps on the Gulf of Mexico. Mom walked to the end of the bus line to go into Lakeland for high school, graduated as valedictorian of her class at the age of 17, and attended Florida State University on a state teachers' scholarship. She taught second grade for ten years in Kissimmee and Indialantic, Florida, earning her Masters degree in Education at the University of Florida during the summers, specializing in reading. While mom didn't like to swim, she loved her days at the beach. It was on one of those days that she met a dashing young rocket scientist who worked at nearby Cape Canaveral. Mom and dad were married in 1963 and embarked on a journey of forty years that would take them from Florida to Maryland, back to Florida, then to Texas, to Maryland again, and then back to Texas, as they followed dad's dedicated career to the aerospace industry and love of the West. Mom never lost her love of learning and the teaching profession. Reading was very important in our house and we will never forget her completely unreasonable rule that during our weekly trips to the public library each summer, each fiction book had to be matched with a non-fiction books AND she expected us to read and be able to discuss each one! Mom loved bird watching, family trips to Sanibel, shell collecting, gardening, reading, doing puzzles, keeping up on world events, having opinions on world events, taking care of our dogs and the neighbors', and collecting wonderful dessert recipes from the newspaper that she would always want someone to make so she "could have just a taste". She was not a fan of snakes or cleaning fish. After dad's death in 2002, mom moved to Reno to be closer to family and rediscovered her love of cross-country travel through many driving trips between the east and west coast. Together, we stood in awe of the majestic California coastal redwoods, waited in traffic for buffalo and bear at Yellowstone, admired the motorcycles and their riders in Sturgis, hunted for diamonds in Arkansas, discovered family monuments in Ohio cemeteries, and chased, and were chased by, giant thunderstorms on the Great Plains.
Mom has been reunited with James David Harding, her husband of forty years, her parents George and Helen Rogers Brown, and two brothers, George and Robert Brown. She is survived by daughter, Teresa Kennedy (Larry) of Reno and their daughter Larkin (Vince) of Houston, Texas, daughter Juliana of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and her best friend of sixty years, Leta Keith of St. Cloud, Florida.
We would like to thank the caring staff of Five Star Premier Properties, especially Florence, Jim, Jerry, Donna, Mary, and CeCe for their friendship. In accordance with Mom's wishes, no public services will be held. Mom and Dad will be reunited later this summer in Calvary Cemetery, Mansfield, Texas. An appropriate way to honor our mother's memory would be with a donation to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada or a donation to a local library in her name.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal from Mar. 1 to Mar. 2, 2014
Walton's Sierra Chapel, Reno
875 West 2nd Street Reno, NV 89505