NAMPA, Idaho (Zola) Ernestine Harmon, 88, died quietly in Nampa, Idaho, on March 19, 2007, after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease with her loving family at her bedside.
A memorial service will be held at College Church of the Nazarene, 504 E. Dewey, Nampa, on Friday at 10:30 am. Entombment will be at the Hillcrest Memorial Gardens in Caldwell. The family will greet loved ones and friends at the Alsip & Persons Funeral Chapel, 404 10th Ave. So., Nampa, on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Family and friends may send memories or condolences to the funeral chapel web site at www.alsipfuneralchapel.com. Ernestine was born Feb. 27, 1919, in Mountain View, Mo., to Ernest and Cora (Buff) Cowan. She was the second of 10 children. She was reared and educated up to the eighth grade there, but upon the untimely death of her mother, she became the stayat- home mother to her siblings the youngest, Ralph, was only 6 months old. Her father always said, “We will take care of our own family, whatever it takes.” When she was in her early 20s, she left Missouri with some of her brothers and went to north-central Montana, where she worked at JC Penney in Chinook. While there, she met Navy seaman Merle Harmon of Havre, who was stationed in San Diego during the war. They were married on Jan. 3, 1945. They settled on a sugar beet farm near Chinook. In time, four children were born to the family: Judy, Ron, Janet, and Dennis. In 1960, they moved to Havre, where they opened a truck stop and cafe just west of the city. Ernestine baked the pies and in general managed the restaurant. All the kids took their turn working there. In 1971, Ernestine moved to Nampa. She worked as a hostess for the newly opened Peach Tree Restaurant (now Sunrise Restaurant) on 12th Avenue and also at Country Inn. Later, she worked at My Favorite Things, a gift and gallery store. Although she was unable to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse, Ernestine volunteered her services at Mercy Hospital and also was one of the first to volunteer for the Hospice care program in Nampa directed by Betty Johnson, who became her lifelong friend. She gave many loving hours caring for people in their homes. For two years, she cared for Rose and Margaret full time in her own home. She was a member of the Nampa Civitan Club and College Church of the Nazarene. One of her delights was to travel by bus with Pastor Earl and Ruth Dardin as they led many retirees on church retreats all across the United States and Canada. She formed a strong friendship with many people on the trips especially Doris Nafziger. She was a shutterbug and was never without a camera. She had a passion for picture taking and filled many hours creating photo albums of family and friends. Although she loved the out of doors and flowers, traveling and photos, she loved her family most of all. She prayed for all of them daily and looked for every opportunity to be with them. She was especially close to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She spent much time with them, observing and participating in their activities. Survivors include her sister, Genevieve Martin of Houston, Texas; brother, Howard (Betty) Cowan of Arroyo Grande, Calif.; children, Judy (Marvin) Stallcop, Janet (Noe) Rodriguez and Dennis (Nancy) Harmon all of Nampa, and Ron (Patty) Harmon of Havre; special niece, Marilyn (Lance) Olson of Great Falls; former boarder, Carolyn Quiggins of Nashville, Tenn.; grandchildren, Teri (Mark) Hayden, Mike (Stacy) Harmon, Tim Harmon, Holly (Donovan) Nordstrom, Gregg Stallcop, LeAnn (Craig) Stensgaard, Jodie (Steve) Engel, Jaina Rodriguez, Marcus Harmon, and Andrew Harmon; 10 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and a host of friends. Ernestine was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Merle; and siblings, Wilfred, Gerald, Vera Ann, Don, Herbert, Virgil and Ralph. The family suggests memorial contributions be made to Hands of Hope Northwest, Inc. Box 161, Nampa, ID 83653, or to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, c/o St. Alphonsus Medical Center, 1055 N. Curtis Rd., Boise, ID 83706 or flowers may be sent.