Leland D. Harder, 86, retired minister and seminary professor, died March 21, 2013, at the Kidron-Bethel Retirement Center in North Newton.
He was born July 1, 1926, in Hillsboro to Menno S. and Katherine Wiens Harder. He married Bertha Fast on Aug. 8, 1951, in Mountain Lake, Minn.
He was a graduate of Bethel College (1948), Michigan State University (M.A., 1950), Bethany Biblical Seminary (B.D., 1952), and Northwestern University (PhD, 1962). He was pastor of the First Mennonite Church of Chicago (1952-1957) and taught at the Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind. (1958-1983). He was a member of the Commission on Home Ministries for the General Conference Mennonite Church.
He and a colleague were the authors of a sociological study of the members of five Mennonite denominations, Anabaptists Four Centuries Later. He was also the author of a major book in Anabaptist studies, The Sources of Swiss Anabaptism. He retired in North Newton in 1983, where he was a part-time director of the Great Plains Seminary Education Program, served as Conference Minister for the South Central (Mennonite) Conference, and was deeply involved in family history research and writing. He was an active member of the Bethel College Mennonite Church.
Preceding him in death were his two parents; a brother: Marvin Harder; sister: Lois Hiebert; wife: Bertha; and daughter-in-law: Julie (Wieler).
He is survived by son: John (Windsor, ONT), granddaughter: Chani, her husband: Alex Wiens, and great-granddaughter: Julianne; granddaughter: Leah and her husband: John Wideman; son: Tom (Wichita), daughter-in-law: Lois (Nofsinger), and granddaughters: Hillary, Madeline and Anna; and his sister: Joan (Kaufman, Winfield).
A memorial service will be at Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, Saturday, April 6, at 3 p.m., preceded by a private internment at the Gnadenau Mennonite Cemetery south of Hillsboro.
Arrangements are by Broadway Colonial Home, Newton.