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H. Pauline Harshbarger

Posted: Tuesday, Jan 15th, 2013

H. Pauline Harshbarger
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Harriet Pauline (Mossholder) Harshbarger, 93, of Lenoir-Woods Retirement Complex in Columbia, Mo., formerly of LaMoille, died Jan. 10, 2013 of complications caused by old age.

Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 16 at the Centralia First Christian Church in Centralia, Mo. Interment was at the Centralia City Cemetery. Visitation was from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 15 at the Oliver Funeral Home in Centralia, Mo. A special celebration of life memorial service was at 10 a.m. on Jan. 15 at the Lenoir-Woods Chapel in Columbia, Mo.

Mrs. Harshbarger was born April 12, 1919 in Dixon to Paul Rhodes and Minnie Ella (Tourtillott) Mossholder. Named Harriet for both her grandmothers, the new parents began to call her Pauline when one of the maternity ward nurses remarked she was the “spitting image” of her father, Paul. She married Don Milton Harshbarger on Jan. 1, 1948 in LaMoille. He preceded her in death.

Survivors include two daughters, Dr. Maryellen (Dr. Wiley) McVicker of Boonville, Mo. and Dr. Paula (Alan) Alshouse of DeLand, Fla.; two grandchildren, Laura McVicker (David) Wax of Boonville, Mo. and Todd McVicker of Centralia, Mo.; twin great-granddaughters, Abigail (Abbie) and Magdalena (Maggie) Wax of Boonville, Mo.; one brother, Donald Mossholder of DeKalb; one sister-in-law, Mildred Harshbarger Rowe of Holyoke, Colo.; five nephews; three nieces; and numerous other relatives.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; one brother, William Albert Mossholder, who died as an infant; two brothers-in-law, Glenn Harshbarger and Herschel Rowe; three sisters-in-law, Lucy Harshbarger Rowe, Marlene Jones Mossholder, and Margie Eichele Harshbarger; and one niece, Glenda Harshbarger Fuehrer.

In the spring of 1920, Mrs. Harshbarger moved with her parents to Michigan where they bought and operated dairies in Farewell, Rosebush and Mount Pleasant. In 1926, the family returned to her mother’s ancestral homestead in southern Lee County, four miles north of LaMoille. Her great-great-grandparents, the Dexter family, were the first white settlers of Amboy and other great-great-grandparents, the Tourtillott family, broke the prairie sod near LaMoille where the farm deed was signed by President Millard Fillmore showing it was the first registration of the property. She grew to adulthood in the original house filled with family pictures, furniture and dishes. There was even a museum filled with family memorabilia, which inspired her to become a history teacher.

After graduating from Amboy High School in 1937, she attended Illinois State Normal University (now Illinois State) where she received a Bachelor of Education degree in 1941. During her college career, she was quite active in Phi Gamma Mu Honorary serving as the vice-president. She became a high school history, English, and Latin teacher and taught in Stanford and Gibson City. She continued her studies in history and received her Master’s degree in American History from the University of Colorado in 1947.

After her marriage, she and her husband, a World War II veteran, moved to his family farm 10 miles north of Centralia, Mo. to farm with his parents. She lived there for the next 59 years until ill health forced her to relocate to Lenoir-Woods in Columbia, Mo. in 2007. She spent much time keeping the family going and everybody fed as hired men, elderly family members, children, and visitors flocked to her table. Lots of company came throughout the year to spend time on a farm and Pauline was the perfect hostess. Her husband’s family was one of the earliest settlers in Central Missouri and she quickly learned their heirloom family recipes including the specialty of angel food cake with spoon custard. Over the decades many newcomers to the neighborhood and many people recovering from illness enjoyed this treat. She quit teaching school and became an active community volunteer who was happiest doing something related to history.

She served as Regent for the Mexico Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and at the time of her death had just completed her term as Patriotic instructor for the Ann Hawkins Gentry Tent, Daughters of Union Veterans (DUV) in Columbia, Mo. At age 92, she attended their state conference as the tent delegate and had a great time. She was a charter member of the Centralia Historical Society and served on the board for many years plus chaired the docent committee and worked on any other committee where volunteers were required. In her spare time, she corresponded with hundreds of friends and family members keeping them updated about family activities plus kept the distant family in contact with each other.

Additionally, she taught Sunday school at the elementary level for about 40 years at Friendship Christian Church north of Centralia. She served as chair of their Vacation Bible School for years and was the community leader of the F & L Hustlers 4-H Club. She also was the project leader for photography and food for about 25 years. She was president of the Christian Women’s Fellowship (CWF) for the church and also president of the Excelsior Extension Women’s Club. Later in life, she and her husband transferred their membership to the First Christian Church in Centralia where Pauline was active in an adult Sunday school class, an officer in CWF, and helped prepare and serve almost every funeral dinner for years.

When her children were young, she was an officer in PTA, was active in band parents, and served as the liaison between the Centralia school system and international students for the American Field Service Exchange, which sponsored students at Centralia High School. At Christmas 2012, Christmas cards were sent to students she had worked with as long as 40 years ago from Thailand, Philippines, Iceland and Japan. Even when old age forced her to move to Lenoir-Woods, she remained active and became part of their welcoming committee, helping orient new residents to their new environment.

Memorials may be directed to the Centralia Historical Society, P.O. Box 125, Centralia, MO 65240. Condolences may be made to the family at oliverfuneralhome@yahoo.com.

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