Juanita Ruth Harden, 84, of West 300 South, died at 9:25 a.m. April 7, 2017, at her home.
Juanita was born June 23, 1932, in Corydon, Indiana, the daughter of Arvil and Catherine Bottorff McKim. She married G. Robert Harden July 19, 1951.
Juanita was the first female county commissioner in the history of Bartholomew County, serving from 1982 – 1994, helped design and establish the Bartholomew County flag and served on the county planning commission. She was instrumental in establishing the Bartholomew County Juvenile Shelter.
She was a member of New Zion United Methodist Church, having served as president of the church board, president of the Methodist women’s organization and church organist. She also was past-president of the American Field Service Foreign Exchange Student Program, the Bartholomew County Extension Homemakers, the Red Hat Society and Christian Women’s Club.
She was a member of B.P.W. organization and the Bartholomew County Senior Center, where she served as past-president of the Senior Services. She was chosen as The Republic’s Woman of the Year for 2002.
Juanita had served on the Bartholomew County Fair Board and helped organize and chair the first pie baking contest at the Bartholomew County Fair, which she later helped judge. She was a long-time member of the Grandview Extension Homemakers Club.
She lived at, and co-managed, the Columbus Youth Camp for 22 years, along with managing the camp kitchen. She donated brunches, which Juanita would serve in her own home, to be auctioned off as fund raisers for various community organizations.
As a freshman in high school, Juanita was the Future Homemakers Club Fall Festival Queen at Columbus High School. Later, as a senior at Clifford High School, she was chosen as the Homecoming Queen.
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 13, 2017, at Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home with the Rev. Darryl Gressel officiating. Calling hours will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home and one hour prior to the service. Burial will be at Garland Brook Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the New Zion United Methodist Church or Our Hospice of South Central Indiana through the funeral home.
Survivors include her daughters, Valorie (Jeff) Shanks of Ohio, Vickie Shanks, Vanessa (Greg) Edwards and Lisa (John) Zeigler, all of Columbus and Magda (Tom) Timmons of Ohio; a son, Jeff (Deborah) Harden of Tennessee; a sister, Shirley Thayer of Columbus; grandchildren, Alyssa Shanks, Tracy Shanks, Ben Shanks, Angie Wilson, Kim Joslin, Kelsey Shanks, Allie Pickett, Nicholas Edwards, Shelby Edwards, April Retz, Zach Zeigler, Kevin Timmons and Kristen Timmons; and great-grandchildren, Hayley Joslin, Breana Shanks, Hunter Botts, Mox Pickett, Brystol Pickett, Chamber Pickett, Emily Wilson, Braylynn Browning and Dylan Ketner.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and her sisters, Doris Wolters, Wilma Crippen and Geraldine Burton.
You are invited to view her video tribute, light a virtual candle and send a message to the family via the internet.