the adventure continues

December 2008: Graduated from university January 2009: started getting sick December 2009: worked on beating cancer January 2010: TBA

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Location: Seattle, WA, United States

newly minted alumnus of the Art Department at the University of Idaho; BFA in studio art, with a history minor


Saturday, May 22, 4 PM Pasco Red Lion Hotel


Robert John Harder (24 years) died peacefully in Seattle in the loving witness of his family after 16 months of coping with a rare, aggressive cancer.

Robert is survived by his parents John & Gretchen Harder (Kennewick), his sister Erika Harder (Seattle), his grandmothers Olive Harder (Kennewick) and Virginia Lea (Atlanta, GA), his loving aunts, uncles & awesome cousins, and his cherished teachers, mentors and many friends.

Robert graduated from the University of Idaho in December 2008. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a minor in History as well as fulfilling the university’s Honors Program requirements. He graduated from Southridge HS (Kennewick) after having attended elementary school in Kahlotus, WA. Robert attended many sessions of the Satori Academic Summer Camp (EWU, Cheney, WA) first as a camper and later as a counselor. Robert was an avid seeker of knowledge, and his teachers in all venues encouraged the development of his inexhaustible, if not obnoxiously chipper, IMAGINATION.

Robert followed his interests with zestful participation: from classroom projects, marching bands, drama clubs, student groups, church activities, fencing club, part-time jobs, to facing each day of his illness with a tenacious optimism in spite of it all.

A memorial celebration is planned for Saturday May 22, 2010, at the Pasco Red Lion Hotel (Pasco, WA) at 4 PM. Robert wished to direct financial memorials towards support of the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, POB 8126, Moscow, ID 83843.


On the morning of May 6th, Rob called his mom into the room and said, “Mom, I think the cat died.” “What cat?” “This cat.” Dad came into the room and asked, “What was that?” to which Rob responded, “I was talking to Mom.”

Later, mom and dad had Rob’s uncle Hans go in to ask if Rob wanted to blow off his Cancer Clinic appointment and he said no. By the time they got to the clinic, he was unresponsive but received his last infusion of platelets and blood. Hospice provided transportation back to the apartment in the late afternoon. We were all together when his breathing slowed down and he finally came to rest at 9:50 pm.

Rob has left some instructions for the family and we will continue to update this blog with information about the memorial service(s).

And his beard is still better than yours.


Erika, John and Gretchen


Posts on this blog henceforth will be from Rob’s family.

Rob took a turn for the worse on Saturday, May 1. After yet another 103 degree fever in the morning, he was basically unresponsive for the rest of the day. He awoke around 8 pm demanding a calzone and a bowl of strawberries which were promptly furnished and he stayed awake and alert long enough to watch Tropic Thunder with his mom, dad, and (favorite) sib. Sunday was a long day of blood product infusions that didn’t give him the hoped-for energy boost. Monday, the Hospice nurse confirmed that he is showing signs of severe liver failure. His energy level and strength have decreased rapidly since then.

He is not in pain; he only wants to sleep. He still tries to take his pills and wants to keep up the fight. He’s been so strong and so optimistic throughout this period and we are very thankful for the time we have had with him. He is unable to respond to messages/texts/facebook/etc; please feel free to post your thoughts here.

Thank you all for the cards and packages and calls and thoughts and prayers; as the next changes happen, this is where the information will be.

for Robert Harder by his sister, Erika