Obituary: Harder, Robert W. “Bob”
HARDER, Robert W. “Bob”
Passed away October 19th, 2012, at Sacred Heart Hospital, the same place he was born on July 5th, 1930. His family were pioneers in the Inland Northwest. Bob’s grandparents, the Henry Harders, settled near Reardon in 1878. He attended Wilson elementary school and graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in 1948 where he excelled in track and field and made a name for himself in high hurdles competitions. Summers during his high school years were spent working for the U.S. Forest Service manning fire observation towers in the forests of Northern Idaho. He spent two years in pre-forestry at Washington State University, after a one-year enlistment in the U.S. Navy. Then, during the Korean War, his National Guard Unit was called to active duty and his college career ended. His Unit, the 116th Interceptor Squadron, was then sent to England, where Bob served as an Aviation Structural Engineer. Bob was discharged in 1952, married his life long partner Georgia, and later that year joined the Spokane City Lines bus company which many years later became the Spokane Transit System. He drove bus on most of the city routes until June 1954 when he became a Supervisor. He was named Superintendent of City Lines in 1957 and became the company’s youngest General Manager ever in 1960 at the age of 30. In the 1960’s and 70’s Bob was a civic leader, heavily involved with the Spokane Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and the Retail Trade Bureau. During the 1960’s, he was a Lilac Festival officer and served as the organization’s Vice President and ultimately served as its President. He was also a member of the Executive Board of the Spokane Safety Council and a Director of the Washington State Transit Association. In 1981, at the age of 51, Bob retired from the Transit System. He bought Ichabod’s Tavern on North Division in 1981 and operated it until 1985 when he once again retired. But, after a brief break, he joined the Security Department at the Navy Submarine Research and Development Center in Bayview, Idaho where he had Secret Department of Defense Clearance until he finally retired for good!
Bob was an outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing on Lake Pend Orielle, and hunting deer and pheasant around the Northwest. He was a dog lover and had many “faithful companions” over the years.
He is preceded in death by his father and mother, Adolph and Jane Harder, and brothers Frank and Henry. He is survived by his loving wife Georgia with whom he just celebrated his 60th anniversary, his son Robert G. Harder and daughter Sally A. McIntyre, both of Spokane, and grandchildren, Sara (Clayton) LaFontaine, Breanna (Dennis) Florianovich and Chelsea Harder along with great-grandchild Giana LaFontaine.
The family would like to send special thanks to the wonderful caregivers at Avalon Care Center where Bob resided for the last couple of years, and the dedicated staff at Sacred Heart Hospital ICU. A Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday, October 30 at 1:00 pm at Hennessey-Smith Funeral Home with a reception to immediately follow. Please visit Bob’s online memorial and leave a message of condolence at www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com