Condolence & Memory Journal

To all the Harding family. God bless you all and help you through this saddest of times. We loved Betty very much and she will be missed very much. Betty was a very special person. From the fist day we met her, it was like we were family and we were. Holidays we joined in just like the many others that was there. More food than you could possibly eat in a week, but so wonderful. Betty gave me the Clark and Church cookbooks and her recipe for the pepper relish is so dogged eared. People think I am wonderful and it is because of Betty sharing. I could go on and on, but she will remain in our hearts. You will never stop missing her, you will just grow accustomed to her absence.

We love everyone of you.
Charley & Brenda

Posted by Charley & Brenda Holloway - North Little Rock, AR - Friends   May 17, 2010

We are so sorry for the family's loss,... and for the community's loss. Betty was always the one to show up at any type of social with 'lots' of food. Often times, she even provided the entertainment (whether she knew it or not)because she loved to be funny and her laugh was contagious. But she also knew how to convey her 'sincere' feelings when she knew someone needed love and support. "I don't know that we would have 'survived' the loss of our parents without her and her family's

Posted by Barbara Jo & Gerald - AR   May 15, 2010

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To John Lee, John, Trish, Judy and the whole Harding family, I wish to offer my condolences on the passing of "Sister Betty", as I have always referred to her. John, I read your Eulogy, and it was amazing! Of course, Sister Betty was an amazing woman with a tireless work ethic, and a love for the work of God, and for people. She always made me feel so loved whenever I would see her. I remember yours and Nikki's wedding shower, and that day, I got to see some of her sense of humor. She was a wonderful woman. You guys were truly blessed to have her as a mother, wife, and grandmother. I know that the jewels in her crown are many.

My prayers for strength and comfort are with each of you. Your loss is Heaven's gain.

Love and prayers!
Gina Beard James

Posted by Gina Beard James - North Little Rock, AR - Friend   May 13, 2010

My special memories of Betty was the way she open her home to all of us on Christmas Eve, for our name pulling gift exchange. And I'm not talking about the home she lives in now, but the little wooden house that hardly her family would fit into. It did not matter that the numbers had grown in count since her first one, it was still her tradition, and she loved it. I remember all the Christmas cards she would have, they would be hanging around every door facing she had. And us kids would be sitting on the floor or in our parents laps,but there was room for all of us. That is Betty for you, she had room for all of us, in her home, in her heart, and in her prayers. Today I know she is so happy, getting to see those that left already. I will miss her, but when I think of her, I know where she is. Heaven, a beautiful place I will see her again.

Posted by Sandra Clifton Fletcher - Roland, AR - cousin   May 13, 2010

Our heartfelt condolences to the entire Harding family. We have such sweet memories of you all. Betty was such a lovely lady - always present and supportive of her children. Our memories also include sweet, sweet Peggy and how loving and strong your mother was through her illness. May God bless you with His healing touch at this time of great loss.

Bill & Mary Faulkner

Posted by Bill & Mary Faulkner - Okolona, AR - friend   May 13, 2010

Our heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts to the family and friends of Betty during this time of need.

Loyce (Pritchard, Nichols) Sternhagen

Posted by Loyce (Pritchard, Nichols) Sternhagen - North Little Rock, AR - Friend   May 12, 2010

A Christmas Eve never passes that I don't think of the wonderful ones that Betty would pull together for the entire Harding/Smith/Clifton clan. She would have Patricia, Judy and me cleaning that house top to bottom while she made pies, cakes, cookies, candy, punch, coffee, tea and goodness knows what else.
Oh, sweet memories.
Many of the values and morals I have today come from what Betty taught me. She was the rock I clung to through tough storms and the shoulder I cried on when I needed. She taught me to believe in myself, but not to exclude God in that belief.
She left an invaluable imprint on my life and for that I am thankful. And I thank all of you for sharing her with me all those many years ago.

Posted by Linda Clifton Allen - Louisville, KY - cousin   May 12, 2010

Funeral Eulogy For Mom

I speak for my sisters and myself, our children and our children's children when I say, We are the most fortunate people on the planet, to have been born to Betty Harding.
What an honor! What a rare and invaluable treasure God has given us since our first day on this earth.. It's a treasure we were able to draw from each day of our life.

We understand, that even WE cannot fully understand all the choices and loving actions she selflessly made for us.
We have only memories, some of them full, some only brief, shimmering reflections from our childhood.. Of the overwhelming love, the security, and the unwavering commitment our Mother has for us and has given us. Even now.. Some of her gifts resurface, and we're reminded anew.. as we give them to our children.

Words are inadequate.. They fail miserably to fully describe all that she was.
It's like trying to paint a picture for you to see and understand her.. But the proper colors simply don't exist. The shades that rest on our palate are never bright enough.. they lack the intensity, the vibrance needed to express our Mom's zest for life and her love for others.
It was something to experience.. That we now hold in our hearts.. That we now protect like a precious prize.

You see, our mother embodied.. She lived out.. She showed us her commitment to her family and others every day of her life. She practiced.. But rarely preached. She didn't have to. She took the harder road, the road that costs something.. Because she knew the payoff would be greater for us.. And not her.
She laid her self down.. Her dreams.. Her aspirations.. Her wants.. And yes, even her needs.. So that we could have all those things. She did this for her young ones and her husband.
She found joy in our accomplishments.. And for her investment.. She never asked a return. All she ever wanted, was our love.. And sometimes.. She was shamefully denied what she should have received.

Our mom truly knew what it meant to love people. She had a way of looking immediately into the heart of others, see their need, and start giving.
Perhaps that's why she loved young people so much. Some of my earliest memories are filled.. with our little, humble house filled with teenagers. I mean wall to wall. That's about the time she earned the name Betty Bumps. When many adults would have pulled their hair out from the noise and commotion.. Mom was in the thick of it.. This was her element.. And she was happy.

Our house was a safe place, a happy place.. And it was because of her. She made sure everyone was fed with the little she had, everyone was cared for and no one was left behind. She knew some of those kids did not have a good situation to go home to.. But in her house, they could be themselves.
That's why they could talk to her, even when they couldn't talk to their own parents. And they did.. Back when my sisters were teenagers, and when I was a teenager. Many of them are in this room right now.. Many more are out there, somewhere.. Living productive lives.. In part, because of our mom.

Mom loved her community and the people in it. She was a good neighbor.. Generous.. Given to hospitality.. And always quick to share whatever she had. She was also very grateful for the kindness of others. If a neighbor or friend would bring her and Daddy produce or do any kind deed.. She was sure to tell us kids. That made her happy.. Because even in receiving, she wanted to give back.
Mom loved her church and the people in it. She loved helping, working, being a part of every project and leading many of them. She was the church secretary/treasurer at Fellowship Tabernacle Church for many, many years.. She was a Sunday School teacher to countless teenagers, she put together a church cookbook that many of us still have in our cabinets to this day.. Aunt Norma's banana bread recipe is on page 52. I see it about once a month.
She planned, wrote, choreographed and hosted pastor appreciation days, church suppers and other events. She is the reason her siblings, and their families reconnected in family reunions for many years. She was a doer.. An initiator who didn't wait for others to get the job done.
She was always quick to bring food to the sick or a grieving family. She's been in many of your houses or the houses of your loved ones.. At sick beds and death beds.. Serving.. Unselfishly.. She was the comforting voice.. The hand of healing to many.
She gave when no one saw, and many acts of charity went unnoticed.. By everyone except God.

I'm not sure how many of those who knew mother realized.. just how really smart and creative she was. Part of that, could have been because of her humility and her situation. In her younger years, she made meals out of the most meager provisions.. We're talking loaves and fishes here. She could do amazing things with so little. Mom was good with numbers. Again, she kept the church books but was also savvy with her home finances.
She was a formidable foe on the Scrabble board, helped all of us kids and grandkids with homework.. Even helped me prepare for Astronomy tests when I went back to college. She was an avid reader and loved to learn about the world around her.. And she knew a lot about our world. Mom kept herself relevant.. And that wasn't by accident. She knew what was going around her children and grandchildren, she knew the social and political issues, she had opinions and a strong mind.
She was not a pushover.. But would never push you.. And quietly forgave the ignorance of others.
Mom was a talented seamstress, she loved to sew and create things. She could take on any challenge, any craft and work her way around, over or through it. Nothing intimidated her.
And when it comes to cooking.. There are no words. That's mostly because our mouths were so full of fried pork chops, that unmatchable fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, squash, okra, potatoes, purple hull peas, pinto beans, greens, poke salad, pies, cobblers, bread pudding, we could on all day long. If heaven is a splendorous as the Bible says, and I have no doubt it is, then Momma's white gravy will be the most prized dish at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

You know, she really loved life and had a great since of humor. She knew the difference between false piety and purity.. And because of that, she was pretty good at the nickel slots.. She always had money left when no one else did.
Every grandkid has sung with her or been sung at. She was upbeat and fun.. And enjoyed making others happy or even getting a laugh at your expense.
For instance, my sisters and I, our spouses, and some of the kids took mom to BJ's Catfish Place over at Morgan to eat on a weekend night about 10-years ago.
Mom and I concocted a plan to scare the wits out of my sisters. So we all walked into the parking lot together, and on my cue.. Mom grabbed her heart and fell to the ground, pretending to have a heart attack. Picture that.. Betty Harding lying on the asphalt pretending to be unconscious while my sisters.. Terrified.. Cried Momma, Momma!
In a minute or two.. A big grin came across her face and she started laughing.. I laughed too.. But we were the only ones.
It was a lot of fun.. Until someone called 9-1-1!
There are so many stories.. So many ways she made life more enjoyable.. Whenever she knew Raymond Smith, Uncle Arthur and Aunt Hazel's son was coming to town, she would make his favorite dessert.. But hide it.
Once he got to our house.. She would apologize profusely for having not had the time to make the dish he so loved. When she thought Raymond had come to terms with his disappointment.. She would pull it out and surprise him. She was always doing, always thinking, always trying to make people happy.

As much as our mom loved others, her family always took priority. She would be quick to tell you that God had to come first.. But her family came in at a razor-thin second place. She built a wall of protection around her children and husband, and in there, was a reserve of love she shared with no one else. Her charity truly did begin at home. We felt special.. Because this amazing woman felt we were deserving of more. We knew people admired her.. Our friends wished she could be their mother.. But in her remarkable capacity to care, there was always an extra portion for those who belonged to her.
She was our protector, our teacher, our counselor and always our advocate.. Ready to stand at our side. She was our doctor, our comforter, our friend, and our one-true steady source of truth in this world. She was always available, always willing, never too busy, watching and waiting to catch us when we needed or.. Or when we'd fall.
She was also our source of discipline.. And this is where her athletic prowess really shined. You see, mother had perfected a maneuver by which she could twist her arm and wrist at precisely the perfect angle.. By which she could swing one of those thin switches from the bush outside the front of our house.. So that it obtained the optimum amount of arc before it came whipping across the back of our legs! You could even here it slicing through the air as it headed toward you.. And you yelled in repentance.
We were never.. EVER.. Bruised.. But she did get our attention.

Because her love was so great, so indescribable, so overwhelming for us kids and grandkids.. Our grief is in turn, is immeasurable.


Finally, My mom loved Jesus.. And we know, that's why she's with him right now. My mom was not ashamed of her faith, not ashamed to pray in front of her children and grandchildren, not ashamed to shout the victory and dance when the power of God moved on her in church.
She lived her faith 24/7.. And did not live a different life at home or work than she did in the pew. My mother was the real deal. If you are looking for an example to live by, here it is. She studied the Bible, knew it, taught it.. And she was right on track. She knew what she believed and why she believed it.. and if you asked for the truth.. She would share it in love.
She was a woman after God's own heart .. She knew God and he knew her by name. She could pray heaven down and God would listen to every word.. Because, her heart was so true. It amazes me.. Truly amazes me.. That every time.. Every time.. She was treated with mean words.. accusations.. nastiness.. isolation from those she loved and hardships she did not deserve.. She stayed true, kept her testimony, kept her integrity, kept her dignity and trusted God.

That trust carried her through life, and has now carried her to the life she truly deserves.. And that she is enjoying at this very minute.

Judy, Patricia, Daddy.. Our wives, husbands, our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family and friends..
We mourn.. because her place in this world is empty.. She's not there to answer the door.. her kitchen is empty.. There's no phone call.. Her flowers have no hand to tend them.
But there is also no more pain.. No hospitals.. No body to grow tired or to hold her back anymore. There are no more tears at Goodbye.. no more disappointment.. No missing family and friends.
Our mother is finally receiving the life she deserves.. She is happy.. Happier than she ever could have been in this life. I can see her smile.. That beautiful smile that would fill your heart with joy and remove every care.. That smile you would see and know everything was going to be alright.
I can tell you..
She's smiling that smile right now.. And everything is alright.

Posted by John Harding - Colorado Springs, CO - Son   May 12, 2010

There are many memories of Betty from high school games with the enjoyment of people surrounding her and laughing and just having fun. She was a wonderful caregiving person to my family through our hard times with our own personal family and we will never forget her. May your know we will keep you in our prayers.

Posted by Lynn Davidson Barnes - Mayflower, AR - Friend   May 12, 2010

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To the Harding Family,

Our sincere condolences.

Posted by Tammy Andreini, Danny and Jerry Butler - Friends   May 12, 2010

To the Harding Family,
I am so sorry to hear of Betty's passing. I can just see Grandma Davidson greeting her in heaven. Most of all she's with God now and that's her biggest reward. Just remember all of the happy and loving times you had together. She was a wonderful lady.

Posted by Tammy Butler Andreini - Reno, NV - Friend   May 12, 2010

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Mrs. Harding will be missed. You all are in our thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Keith and Michelle Shewmake - Roland, AR - Friend   May 12, 2010

To the Harding Family, I am so sorry. When I revisit my own memories of your Mom I think of "her smile", "faithful", and of course, singing at Fellowship Tabernacle. I can just imagine the welcome she received from those waiting in heaven. I know your hearts are heavy...she will be greatly missed.

Posted by Charlotte George Moore - Rogers, AR - Cousin   May 11, 2010

To the family, I am so sorry about the passing of Betty she was a very sweet lady.our prayers are with you all of you.

Posted by Mary Jane Forrester - Roland, OH   May 11, 2010

Betty and I grew up together. She was 1 of 5 sisters,and 1 other brother, and the nearest in age to me. We shared many things as we grew up, from trying to milk cows in Oklahoma, to sharing a bucycle as we grew older. She taught me about sharing, and caring. We went through some hard times, and some very good times and throughout it all, there was love and laughter. John Harding took her away from us, from California to Arkansas but added a hundred fold more than he took away with Patricia, Judy and Little John.

Betty was the one that held it all together for the Clark legacy. She is gone to be with the Lord, but will always live in a special place in my heart.

Posted by Don Clark - Virginia Beach, VA - Brother   May 11, 2010

I can still remember Ms. Betty being my bus driver years ago. She let me open and close the bus door for her and I felt so special. One Christmas, she gave me a gift which was a hat & glove set and you would have thought I got a millon dollars because I was so happy/excited to get that gift from her. She will truly be missed not only by me, but everyone in Roland. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Posted by Pam Pedigo - Roland, AR - friend   May 11, 2010

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Judy, your mom was truly a very sweet lady. I remember lots of good times at your house when we were growing up.
The whole gang could just show up and your Mom made us feel so welcome, I remember the Popcorn she made for us by the Dishpan fulls!
She was a wonderful Lady.
My Prayers are with the entire family.

Posted by Lynn McVay - friend   May 11, 2010

Another fixture of our community that we call Roland has left us. How the landscape of people changes as each one departs. Each leaving their own footprint in the memories and lives of those of us left behind. We remember how they touched our own lives. Betty was such a sweet woman, always with a smile. She was thought highly of and will be greatly missed. See you again, in just a little while. My prayers are with the family.

Posted by Linda George Kam - Roland, AR - cousin   May 11, 2010

To the family, Betty was a sweet lady. Betty will be greatly missed by the many who knew and loved her. Our prayers are with the family.Lord put your loving arms around this family and comfort them today.

Kathy & Gary Bell
and
Billie Moreland

Posted by Kathy Bell - Roland, AR - Friend   May 11, 2010