In Loving Memory of my Brother, John Martens Harder


Saturday evening, August 29, 2020, two nieces, Sarah Hoover and Linda Vandervliet both contacted me to let me know their father, my brother John (aka: Johannes) was killed earlier in a hit and run accident, in Mexico. Loss is always hard, no matter the circumstances. But it is especially shocking to hear of a sudden death such as this.

Details of the accident as relayed by John’s wife, Marjorie:
Late morning, August 29, 2020, John and Marj Harder were traveling by van from Bucerias to Mezcales Mexico. Once out of the van they had to cross the highway to go to the Walmart mall. They noticed vehicles had stopped both ways, so John said, “let’s go now..”. They started to cross, and all of a sudden noticed a vehicle coming. John started to run and the car hit him head on and pushed him quite a ways down the highway. Marj was not injured but witnessed the crash. Police and ambulance arrived within 10-15 min. They said John was killed on impact.

John married Marj Penner September 4, 1999. At the time of their marriage, John had two daughters, Linda (Mike) Vandervliet and Sarah (Chris) Hoover, and Marj had one son, Aaron Penner (fiancee’ Alicia Szucs). Together they have one daughter, Tonya Harder.

We are thankful that Marj was not injured, and our hearts go out to her as she processes the trauma of witnessing John’s death, and goes through the grieving process. She and their daughter Tonya, who lived with them in Mexico, plan to fly home with John’s remains as soon as they are able to make arrangements to do so. Tonya’s passport is expired, so they need to get that renewed first. Please pray for them, that things come together and they remain strong.

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Loving husband to Marjorie (Penner) Harder, Father to Linda (Mike) Vandervliet, Sarah (Chris) Hoover, Aaron Penner (fiancee’ Alicia Szucs), and Tonya Harder, Grandfather to Nadia and Luke Vandervliet, Evelyn, Nolan, Alice and Stella Hoover, and Natalie Marie Penner. Brother to Mary (Abram) Schmidt, Peter (Nancy) Harder, Jacob (Susie) Harder, Henry Harder, Anna (Leonard) Hursh, Tina Harder, Margaret (Jim) Verwer, Nancy (Lloyd) Kuepfer, Wilhelm (Connie) Harder, Trudy (Tim) Metzger, Eva Harder, Martha Harder, David (Shannon) Harder, and Abe Harder, and sister-in-law Susan (the late Cornelius) Harder. Brother-in-law to Laura (Don) Larochelle, Florence (Gregg) Klassen, and Fred Penner. Uncle to many nieces and nephews.

John was predeceased by his parents Peter and Anna Harder, his step-mother Katharina Harder, brother Cornelius, one infant brother, and his parents-in-law, John and Martha Penner.

*****

Our family extends appreciation to John’s wife Marj for her loyal support and love for our brother throughout their marriage, and for caring for him after death. To witness such a horrific event so far from most of her family, and then tend to these matters takes great courage. Thanks to Tonya Harder for supporting her mom in Mexico in this difficult time, and each of their children in the capacity of support they were able to offer.

Aaron Penner set up a GoFundMe to help with expenses and for Marj and Tonya to get established upon their return to Canada. Should family and friends wish to donate, visit GoFundMe: Bringing Family Together.

A personal thanks to the many who have sent words of condolences to our family, and offered prayers on our behalf. Your kindness and encouragement are much appreciated.


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For those able to read Spanish, here is a news article on the accident: Conductor mata a peatón por Lago Real y huye del lugar. (WARNING: Semi-Graphic photo included in news article).  The following is my best attempt to translate to English. Anything I could not translate, I excluded. (I welcome corrections).

Being dragged at least 40 meters after being struck by a vehicle, a man died at the scene of the accident, while the person responsible fled the scene.

This accident occurred Saturday morning [August 29, 2020], on Highway 200 [...]. Police were called and verified the accident.

It was after ten o'clock in the morning of this Saturday [August 29, 2020], when Municipal Police received the report of the accident. After confirming the accident, they called for paramedics support.

When personnel from the Civil Protection and Firefighters of Bahía de Banderas arrived, they pronounced the man dead at the scene of the accident.

State Police and SEMEFO arrived at the scene to undertake the task of recording reports surrounding the event, and taking the body to rest.

The identity of the person is still unknown. It is only known that it is an older male.

Reported by: Lupillo Arce

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© Trudy Metzger 2020

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