Harriett Farmer Murray Reeder
Harriett Farmer Murray Reeder
  • April 11, 1931 - January 1, 2014
  • Missouri

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Harriett Farmer Murray Reeder died peacefully on January 1, 2014 surrounded by her family at St. Luke's Hospice House, Kansas City, Missouri at the age of 82 following a protracted illness.

Harriett was born in Stellaville, Georgia to Sara Louise Farmer and Elliott Murray. From age two to nine, she lived with her maternal grandparents, Henry and Clara Farmer of Stellaville while her mother was completing her degree in elementary education in Atlanta. While living with her grandparents, Harriett was also cared for by a host of loving aunts, uncles and cousins. Harriett eventually joined her mother and stepfather, Donald Clements, in Atlanta where she graduated from Roosevelt High School and attended Agnes Scott College.

Harriett met Dr. Charles Reeder while visiting relatives in southeast Missouri. At age nineteen, she married Charles and they moved to New Madrid, Missouri. It was there that Charles established his medical practice, and with Harriett they built a home, established a family, and became mainstays of the community for eighteen years. An accomplished pianist and vocalist, Harriett taught piano to a number of young people in New Madrid and was a frequent soloist at the Methodist Church. She was also actively involved in the community and, as homage to her Georgia roots, organized efforts to plant dozens of dogwood trees along the major streets in town. She had a strong sense for the aesthetic and an eye for classic style and form in all aspects of her life as exemplified by her design of the family home in New Madrid. Ever the gracious hostess and excellent cook, Harriett loved to entertain her wide circle of friends and family from the home. In 1968, Charles' medical career brought him and his family to Smithville, Missouri, where he joined the staff at Spelman Memorial Hospital. Smithville would be their home for the next forty five years.

Possessing boundless energy and a strong will, Harriett enrolled at William Jewell College in 1970 where she completed her undergraduate degree in English. She went on to complete her Master's degree in English at UMKC, with a focus on medieval English literature. She put her studies to good use, eventually teaching English composition at Park Hill High School and reinforcing in her children an appreciation for learning and the power of perseverance. A natural leader and organizer, she was a founding member of the Spelman Memorial Hospital Auxiliary in Smithville, served on the Clay County Board of Health in the mid-1970s, and managed Charles' medical practice in the later years of his career.

Harriett was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Charles Reeder in 2008, infant daughter Charlotte Ann Reeder, deceased soon after birth in 1960, son Charles Christopher Reeder in 1996, her mother, father, and stepfather. She is survived by her brother, Denny Clements and wife Anita of Washington, D.C., and by four of her six children and their spouses: Jeff Reeder and Tricia of Mission Hills, Kansas; Jonathan Reeder and Carol of Atlanta, Georgia; Allison Reeder McSpadden and Mike of Fort Worth, Texas; Melanie Reeder of Smithville, Missouri; and her former daughter-in-law Katherine Reeder White and Ralph of Raymore, Missouri. Harriett was blessed with 10 grandchildren: Melissa Reeder Jones; Elizabeth Barber and husband Ryan; Sarah Winter and husband Devin; David Reeder; Jonathan McSpadden and wife Bailey; David and Mark McSpadden; and Catherine, Charles and Phillip Reeder. In addition, there are 8 great grandchildren: Avery, Montana and Mickey Jones; Celia, Charlotte and Corwin Barber; and Harriet and Hugo Winter.

Harriett was a beautiful, elegant, and resilient woman who possessed a sharp intellect and an unfailing loyalty to her family. She was a selfless individual and Mother and took a positive and creative approach to the challenges she faced in her life whether they be personal, family, professional, or community oriented. She took great interest and pride in the accomplishments of her children and their growing families and remained an integral part of their lives until her passing. She made it a point in her later years to make frequent trips around the country to celebrate the milestone events in the lives her family. Mom/Harriett, we love you and will miss you and think about you always.

A visitation will be held Saturday, January 11, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. followed by a Celebration of Life service at Mount Moriah Terrace Park Funeral Home, 801 Northwest 108th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. An additional memorial service and interment will occur in New Madrid, Missouri on a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the St. Luke's Hospice House, 3516 Summit Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64111.

The family would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the wonderful staff at St. Luke's Hospice House for their loving support and care of Harriett during her last days.