Donald Bernard Harden
Donald Bernard Harden
  • May 3, 1935 - April 16, 2017
  • Dallas, Texas

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A Memorial Service will be held at Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, 1522 Highland Road, Dallas, Texas 75218, on Saturday May 6, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.
Donald Bernard Harden was born May 3rd, 1935 in Omaha, Nebraska. He passed away on April 16th, 2017 in his home in Dallas, Texas.
One of seven children, Don was a star athlete at Benson High School in Omaha, Nebraska, excelling in baseball, football and basketball. His skills on the baseball field, in particular, were later passed down to his own daughters, both of whom he coached in softball for many years (and neither of whom has ever been accused of throwing like a girl).
It was at Benson High where he first met his wife, Joyce Svevad, when he signed her yearbook his senior year (Don was such a "big man on campus" that Joyce stood in a line for that honor). Two years after writing that generic, "Have a great summer," message, Don was riding in a car with his brothers when he saw Joyce walking down the street during her senior year. He knew immediately that he wanted to get to know her better. A courtship ensued and marked the beginning of a love story lasting more than sixty years.
They were married in 1957 and Don went to work for Union Pacific in Omaha. He was there when the company got their first computers. After an aptitude test, he was brought into the computer department - truly on the ground floor of the computer age. Many years later, Don was inducted into the Benson High School Hall of Fame as a pioneer in the computer industry.
The couple moved to Dayton, Ohio when Don took a job with RCA Computers at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and later to Poway, California for a job with General Dynamics Astronautics. Their first daughter, Vicki, was born in California in 1964.
When American Airlines recruited Don for a job in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he had to ask, "Where is that?!" But after a visit, he moved his young family to Tulsa, where their second daughter, Lori, was born in 1967. Don and Joyce enjoyed many years in Tulsa, raising their daughters and eventually sending them off to college and beyond. Don retired from American Airlines after 30 years of service and he finished out his career with five years at Dell in Austin.
The couple then moved to Lake Kiowa, Texas where Don had plenty of time to indulge his love of gardening while landscaping and maintaining an impeccable yard and offering gardening advice to friends and neighbors. When they later settled in Dallas, he worked part-time in the garden department at Home Depot, providing many opportunities to share his knowledge of gardening (sometimes to the chagrin of his employer who might have been just as happy with more selling, less counseling - but Don wasn't about to let someone out the door knowing they intended to plant a shade plant in full sun).
With his benefits from American Airlines, Don enjoyed the opportunity to travel, taking Joyce to Japan, and his family on Hawaiian vacations. His daughter, Vicki, fondly remembers one trip home from Hawaii when only two seats were available following a layover in Los Angeles. Joyce and Lori took the seats while she and her dad stayed behind. Stuck in LA, they decided to road-trip up the coast to Santa Barbara to watch a girls softball tournament, sleeping on the floor in the hotel room of the Omaha Bells softball team when they couldn't find a room of their own.
Lori recalls inspirational quotes that her dad hand-printed on index cards and left in her bedroom. She also fondly remembers many years on the softball field and a habit Don had of turning on her electric blanket if she had gone out on a cold night, so her bed would be warm when she got home.
Don and Joyce celebrated 60 years of marriage in February.
Don was predeceased by his mother and father, Mamie and Earl, and siblings, June, Jack, Jim, and Shirley. He is survived by his wife, Joyce, his daughter Vicki and her husband Kirk Gillette, his daughter Lori and her husband, Tony Kiehle, grandchildren, Ben, Lucy, and Jordan, and siblings, Dick and Bob.