Olivia Cleoma Harder

1909 - 2002

Olivia Harder, pianist, taught music in eight academies and one college in the Seventh-day Adventist school system. She spent the last ten years of her career as a librarian at Andrews University.

Olivia was born in Hooker, Oklahoma, the older of two children of John C. and Anna Emma Oblander Harder. She graduated from Enterprise Academy, now Great Plains Academy, Academy in 1927* and then attended Union College, where she studied music. She began teaching music at Sheyenne River Academy, Now Dakota Adventist Academy, in the mid-1930s, while also serving as girls' dean. She left there to teach at Laurelwood Academy in Oregon in 1941.

Three years later she returned to the Midwest, where she taught at Maplewood Academy in Minnesota until 1946. She then returned to Union College to complete her music degree while teaching piano at the college part-time. At the end of that school year's summer session, when she completed her degree with honors, she taught full-time at Union College Academy, overseeing piano and voice instruction and directing the choir, responsibilities she would hold until 1950.

She accepted a position as piano and organ teacher at Auburn Academy in Washington that year and would teach there until 1955, when she went to Upper Columbia Academy. In 1962 she was hired to teach at Rio Lindo Academy, a newly opened school in Northern California.

In 1966 she moved to Berrien Springs, Michigan, where she ended her career working as a library assistant for the next ten years at Andrews University. She retired in College Place, Washington, and was living there with her brother, Frederick E.J. Harder, and his family when she died, at age 93.

*Although her obituary in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin stated she graduated from Sheyenne River Academy, now Dakota Adventist Academy, issues of the late 1920s Central Union Outlook have articles about her progress in, her playing of a senior recital at, and graduation from Enterprise. She is also pictured as a 50-year graduate from EA in the Central Union Reaper in 1977.


Sources: 1910 and 1920 U.S. Federal Census; Mitchel Family Tree, Ancestory .com; Central Union Outlook, 3 May 1927, 4 and 27 September 1927, 8; Northern Union Outlook, 26 July 1938, 26 and 19 August 1947, 3; Central Union Reaper, 1 October 1946, 3; 15 July 1947, 3 and 2 June 1977, 10; General Conference Committee Minutes, 22 March 1948; General Conference Session Bulletin #10, 1950, 27; John C. Harder obituary, NPUC Gleaner, 6 July 1964, 13.