Helen “June” Niemira Harting, 76, passed away on Oct. 9, 2020. She was born a twin on Jan. 12, 1944, daughter of Thadeus Felix Niemira and Doris Gann Niemira. The twins, Helen June and May, were born in Fairbury, Neb., and baptized by their maternal grandfather, the Rev. Barton A. Gann, minister of the First Church of Christ in Rock Rapids, Iowa. The name “Helen” honors her paternal grandmother and means “bright one” in Greek. “June” derives from Latin.
Harting was interested in music since birth, due to the delightful talents of her mother, Doris Gann Niemira, and her grandmother, Bertha Mae Knight Gann. Both of these influential ladies were wonderful musicians and inspiring music teachers. Music was a family activity that was entwined with social life in their religious family, and many of events happened at church.
After enjoying piano lessons with her mother and grandmother at an early age, Harting learned how to play the trombone at age 8, continuing in school and community bands and orchestras, and playing well into her adult life.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in music from West Chester University. She worked parttime as a secretary and worked summers for the J. C. Penney Company. After her college graduation, she directed bands, vocal choirs and handbell choirs and taught music in grades 1 through 12 (Huron Valley Schools of Milford, Mich., West Bloomfield (Mich.) Schools, The Independence School of Newark, Del., and The International Primary School of Zurich, Switzerland).
She taught her four children music, and they excelled in their respective schools and towns. Her wonderful husband, Ralph John Harting, Jr., whom she married in Michigan on April 15, 1974, encouraged and enabled her to be a homemaker who led creative activities. The couple celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary in April of 2020.
Their four children were baptized in the church where their parents had been married, Orchard Lake Community Church, Presbyterian, Orchard Lake, Mich. After living in Delaware and Switzerland, June and Ralph Harting returned to Orchard Lake in 2000.
Harting felt fortunate to meet adult step-siblings and relatives by marriage who became her loving friends, and she saved their addresses and eagerly looked forward to receiving their annual Christmas letters and photos. While it isn’t possible to list everyone, some of the names often mentioned include Caroline Niemira, Peter Niemira and his wife, Carol, Thadeus Niemira and his wife Helen, the late David T. Badgley, Lawrence T. Badgley and his wife Sharon, Patricia Badgley Collins, Jacqueline Badgley Jones and her late husband, Ernest, Carl S. Badgley and his wife Betty, and Jonathan Badgley, the late Ralph John Harting and his wife, Rose Koss Harting, Mary Elaine Harting Bilyk and her late husband, George, Joseph William Harting and his late wife Veronica, Joseph Harting and family, Scott Harting and family, Amanda Harting Fitzgerald and her husband Stephen, and their children Jack, Lucy and Thomas, Michael Harting and his wife, Darlene, and their children, Michael and Erin Harting Fannin, and Brian Buckley and his family.
She was also grateful for her sister, May Niemira Sisson and her husband, Gary Sisson; their children, David Sisson and Amy Sisson Strutt; and their respective families.
Her pride and joy were her four children. They were greatly loved, disciplined, praised and taught that if they worked hard enough, they could achieve all their goals. They are Ralph Harting III, who passed in 2005, his wife, Jennifer Nazworth Harting Buckley, and their three children, Ralph Harting IV, Adeline and Warren Harting; William Harting and his wife, Lisa, and their three children, William Harting Jr., Samantha and Olivia; Lawrence Harting and Dana Bova, and their two children, Edward Sebastian and Isla Blake; and Sarah June Harting.
A celebration of Harting’s life will be held at a later date. Interment will take place in Milford, Mich. Condolences may be sent online www.melsonfuneralservices.com.