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Obituary for Mary Barbara Harkness

Mary Barbara Harkness, age 91 of Northfield, passed away on Thursday evening, October 25, 2018, at Three Links Care Center. Mary was born on the Harkness family farm in Sciota Township, Dakota County, near Randolph, Minnesota on April 23, 1927, to Frank and Sarah Elizabeth (Simpson) Harkness. The second of three children, Mary Barbara was named for her two grandmothers. From her birth to her death, she was a happy-hearted, compassionate and loving person. She started schooling in Randolph and after her Grandmother Simpson’s death in 1937, Mary with her parents and younger sister Roberta moved to the Simpson family […]

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Mary Barbara Harkness, age 91 of Northfield, passed away on Thursday evening, October 25, 2018, at Three Links Care Center.

Mary was born on the Harkness family farm in Sciota Township, Dakota County, near Randolph, Minnesota on April 23, 1927, to Frank and Sarah Elizabeth (Simpson) Harkness. The second of three children, Mary Barbara was named for her two grandmothers. From her birth to her death, she was a happy-hearted, compassionate and loving person. She started schooling in Randolph and after her Grandmother Simpson’s death in 1937, Mary with her parents and younger sister Roberta moved to the Simpson family farm near Northfield.  She attended Kannary Country School through the eighth grade and graduated from Northfield High School in 1945. Mary continued her education at Saint Olaf College for two years, followed by completing a business degree at Minnesota School of Business. She lived and worked in Denver, Colorado and returned to Minnesota for employment at Northwestern Bell Telephone Company in Minneapolis. After nearly 30 years, Mary retired and returned to Northfield in 1986.

Mary enjoyed family, friends, politics, travelling, Vikings & Twin games, reading, and knitting. She spent a fun-filled summer while employed at Yellowstone National Forest, where she worked in the Grand Lodge serving daily meals and banquets to the summer guests. “Aunt Mary” planned a special vacation for two, with each of her nephew and nieces. By the time it was Jenny’s turn, “Aunt Mary” had her 1981 Chevrolet Citation “Kremy”, so there was no longer a need for train or bus schedules. Famous for sending birthday cards, always arriving on time with a crisp two-dollar bill, “Aunt Mary” was also known for her hand knitted scarves. She would always be working on a scarf for a new born baby, birthdays, and Christmas gifts.

Mary truly enjoyed life. In her 91 years, life handed her many joys and challenging sorrows. On her 16th birthday, her mother Sarah passed away and on her 87th birthday, her great-great nephew Emerson was born. Thanks to all who made Mary’s 90th birthday such a memorable occasion. On her 91st birthday, Mary moved into the nursing care unit at Three Links, where she started another chapter in her life filled with care and support of the staff who became her dear friends.

Mary Barbara is survived by her sister Roberta Christenson of Buffalo, MN; four nieces, Cynthia (Philip) Terpstra of Northfield, LuJean Paulson of Northfield, Elizabeth Lund of Buffalo, Jennifer (Christopher) Hoff of Woodbury; nephew Lloyd (Melissa) Christenson; great niece Emma Hoff; and eight great nephews, Scott (Jennifer) Paulson, Ryan (Molly) Paulson, Benjamin (Erin) Terpstra, William (Amy) Terpstra, Charles (Ashley) Terpstra, Jacob Christenson, Noah Christenson and Sam Hoff; fourteen great-great nephews and nieces, Peyton, Ava, Isabelle, Eli, Beau, Madilyn, Elsa, Emerson, John, Frances, Zachary, George, Sarah, Katherine; and two Simpson cousins, Rosella Trahan of Brainerd and Janet Celick of Boise, Idaho. Mary was preceded in death by her infant brother James Robert; brother-in-law Wallace Christenson; great-nephew Christopher Lund; nephews- in-law, George S. Paulson and Darwin Lund; all eight Harkness cousins; and seven Simpson cousins.

Private Funeral Service will be at the First United Church of Christ in Northfield. Interment at Red Rose Cemetery. Special thanks to the wonderful staff at Three Links Care center for their care and support. Memorials are preferred to Northfield First United Church of Christ, historical preservation fund; Daughters of the American Revolution, Josiah Edson Chapter of Northfield; and Dakota City Historical Society in Farmington.

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Red Rose Cemetery
300th St W Northfield, 55057 Get Directions

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