Obit: Harder, Donna Rae (1935 – 2015)


Surnames: Harder, Leipert, Peterson, Casper, Hoberg, Voss, Brunner, Chapman, Zeilly

Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, WI) 23 May 2015

Harder, Donna Rae (24 NOV 1935 – 20 MAY 2015)

Donna Rae Harder, age 79, of Greenwood, WI died at her home surrounded by family Wednesday, May 20, 2015 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 M. 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 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 Harder (Brianna), 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 Celebration of Life 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 Rae Harder and Chelsie Rae Brunner, 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

The Gesche Funeral Home is assisting Donna Rae's family with Funeral arrangements.



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