HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Ervin W. Harder, DMD, 79, of Hannibal, died Friday (Feb. 14, 2014).
Dr. Harder was born on Sept. 13, 1935, in St. Joseph to Ervin Paul Harder and Hazel Nell Feuerbacher. He married Helen Ruth Foster, his high school and college sweetheart, on Aug. 3, 1957.
Ervin W. Harder grew up in St. Louis and graduated in 1953 from Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School. After graduating college at Central Methodist College, Erv attended Washington University School of Dental Medicine, graduating in 1960. After dental school he enlisted as a captain in the United States Air Force
and was stationed at Mather AFB in Sacramento, Calif. Upon discharge from the Air Force in 1962, Dr. Harder moved back to Missouri and began a lifetime of professional dental care by purchasing a dental practice in Hannibal from Dr. Lawrence W. Craigmiles.
Dr. Harder quickly became very active in the community. He was a member and president of the Hannibal Jaycees. He was the cofounder and president of the Northeast Missouri Sheltered Workshop, which provides employment for many physically and mentally challenged people in the Hannibal area. He was a member of the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce, served as president of the Board and also received the Pacesetter Award in 1974. In 1967, he and Helen and several partners also created the Twainland Express tour train for visitors in Hannibal.
Dr. Harder's contribution to the Northeast Missouri area was noted also by the number of boards on which he served. He was board member for the Hannibal Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the Hannibal School of Practical Nursing, the Northeast Region of the American Red Cross and most recently the Hannibal Board of Public Works. Dr. Harder also served on the Board of Directors for the Hannibal YMCA for 10 years, serving as president during the period when the current YMCA facility was built in 1981. He was also an avid user of the YMCA's pool, swimming daily, and swimming competitively in the U.S. Masters Swimming organization.
Dr. Harder was a member of the Hannibal Public School District Board of Education for almost 20 years, serving as president of the school board from 1983 to 1998.
Dr. Harder was a member of the Hannibal Regional Hospital Board of Directors and was Chairman of the Board during the establishment of the new Hannibal Regional Hospital from 1991-1995. He was also a member and chairman of the Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, the Hannibal Regional Hospital Foundation and the New Era Healthcare Foundation. He recently established the dental program at the Hannibal Free Clinic.
In Missouri statewide service, Dr. Harder was appointed by the governor in 1994 to the Missouri Ethics Commission, serving as Vice Chairman from 1995 until his term ended in 1998.
In professional life as a dentist, Dr. Harder, Dr. Duane Thomas and Dr. Blaine Thomas formed Hannibal Dental Group in 1974, moving to its current location at 2727 St. Mary's Ave. in 1990 when they joined with Dr. David Jackson. In 1991, his son, Dr. Paul Harder, joined the practice, and Dr. Harder was proud to work with his son for 23 years. In 2009, Dr. Joshua Ricker joined Hannibal Dental Group when Dr. Harder retired.
Dr. Harder was the Chief of Dental Services for St. Elizabeth Hospital from 1969 until it merged with Levering Hospital in 1980, creating the new Hannibal Regional Hospital. He then continued serving as a dentist on the staff of the new hospital.
He was a member of the American Dental Association, Missouri Dental Association, Northeast Missouri Dental Association, Great River Dental Study Club and the Academy of General Dentistry.
Dr. Harder also was bestowed the great honors of being elected into the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists.
He was appointed by the governor to the Missouri Dental Board in 1988 until 1995, serving as president in 1991. In a related capacity, Dr. Harder was an examiner for the Central Regional Dental Testing Service, a dental license examination for the Midwest, from 1990-1996, serving as chief examiner in 1994.
In his spare time, Dr. Harder attended Northeast Missouri State University (Truman State University) and received a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology in 1980. He provided occasional hypnosis therapy for smoking cessation. He has mentored and provided informal counseling and support for many people.
He became skilled in pistol marksmanship, and he attended several pistol marksmanship competitions. Dr. Harder was a Civil War enthusiast and interested in military aviation. He enjoyed classical music, opera, learning new languages and traveling, and he was an avid reader. Erv and Helen traveled with a wonderful group of friends throughout Europe, China, Australia, and North and South America
E.W. is survived by his wife and two children, Hollie Ann Smith (Kevin) and Ervin Paul Harder II (Cheryl). They also are blessed to have four wonderful grandchildren, Alissa Smith, Austin Smith, Lauren Harder and Evan Harder. He is also survived by several cousins and nieces and nephews.
SERVICES: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the First Christian Church, Hannibal. Dr. L.R. Veatch and the Rev. Steve Barker will conduct.
VISITATION: 4-8 p.m. Monday in the church.
MEMORIALS: In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Hannibal Regional Hospital Foundation, the Hannibal Free Clinic or to the
, in care of Smith Funeral Home and Chapel.
ARRANGEMENTS: Smith Funeral Home and Chapel.