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Harleen Jiles Harper Waldorf

November 22, 1921 February 26, 2014
Harleen Jiles Harper Waldorf
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Obituary for Harleen Jiles Harper Waldorf

Harleen Jiles Harper Waldorf, 92, died peacefully at the Vinton Lutheran Home Wednesday, February 26, 2014.

     A memorial service will be held 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at the Vinton Presbyterian Church with Pastor Jessica Crane-Munoz officiating. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, March 10, at Van Steenhuyse - Russell Funeral Home in Vinton. Private family inurnment will be held in Evergreen Cemetery, Vinton.

     Harleen was born November 22, 1921, on a family farm north of Vinton, Iowa, the daughter of Harland E. and Margaret Deischer Harper. As a child, she attended Prairie Creek Christian Church and was baptized nearby in Bear Creek at age 12. In 1938, Harleen graduated from Lincoln High School in Vinton as class salutatorian and went on to Iowa State College in Ames, obtaining her teaching certification before turning 18, the required age for teachers at the time. She continued at Iowa State, studying Art until she was old enough to teach, then began her career at Harrison #5, a one-room schoolhouse in rural Benton County.

     On January 1, 1942, Harleen was united in marriage with Horace Cable “Kaye” Waldorf at her parents’ home north of Vinton. She helped manage the Palace Theater, which was owned by the Waldorf family, until Kaye enlisted in the Army Air Corp. Following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, Harleen then became the third generation to teach at Harrison #2, another rural one-room school. After WWII, the couple farmed north of Vinton and became partners with Harleen’s father in the seed corn company Harper’s Hardy Hybrids. As their family grew, Harleen was a busy homemaker, as well as an excellent manager of investments and the family farm. A long-time member of the Vinton Presbyterian Church, Harleen was a deacon and taught Sunday school.

     In 1968, Harleen and Kaye moved their family to the island of Molokai, Hawaii, to manage Hawaiian Research Ltd., doing custom hybrid seed research. Harleen became certified and worked as a Mediator for the Maui County Family Court. As a member of the United Church of Christ on Molokai, Harleen continued to teach Sunday school and served as a deacon. In 2003, after 35 years in Hawaii, they returned to Vinton. They rejoined the Presbyterian Church and Harleen started a new Sunday school class for young parents. She continued to actively track the grain markets and manage the sale of crops from the family farm.

     Harleen was inquisitive and always eager to learn, as well as teach. She was a dedicated and loving mother, always focused on how to best prepare her children for life. Harleen was a voracious reader, creative cook, and a life-long student of the Bible. She enjoyed gardening, sewing, using her computer, playing Bridge, painting and drawing. A member of the American Legion Auxiliary since 1948, she was also active in various women’s circles and organizations.

     Harleen is survived by one son, John Mark (Darlene) Waldorf of Iowa; five daughters: Ann (Dennis) Williams of Iowa, Diana Baker of Hawaii, Beth (Ron) Maifeld of Kansas, Jane (Voss) Fernandes of New York, and Caroline (Robert) Isbell of Washington; one brother, Edward Harper of Kansas; one sister, Margaret Hoffman of Iowa; eight grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

     She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband in 2007; and one brother, John Harper.

     Memorial contributions may be directed to: the Vinton Presbyterian Church; Hospice Compassus at 610 32nd Avenue SW, Suite F, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 (checks payable to Community Hospices of America Foundation); or Kokokahi Tropical Food Mission at 47-004 Okana Place, Kaneohe HI 96744.

     The family would like to extend special thanks to the many wonderful staff members of the Lutheran Home’s Assisted Living, Nursing Facility, and Home Health Agency, along with Hospice Compassus, for the excellent care Harleen received.


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