Susan Ann Harman

February 1st, 1938April 7th, 2019

Teacher, Mother, Poet, Feisty & Spirited Dreamer

Susan grew up on a small family farm in Stockton, Minnesota, with her mom, dad, sister, Joan, and older brother, Jack.  They had dairy cows, an old sheep dog named Shep, chickens, an angry sheep and a wrathful rooster. Susan was a tomboy. “She had a great arm and could throw a football farther than any of the boys. At school when they picked sports teams, Susie always got picked before me,” lamented older brother, Jack, and chuckled, “Imagine how that made me feel? Susie was a fast runner.  She could out run the all us on the farm, including the angry sheep and that mean rooster.”   

Susan’s parents died when she was a young teenager. The siblings were separated and had to live with different relatives. Susan and Joan moved in with their Aunt Emma in La Crosse, Wisconsin while Jack went to live with his uncle. In La Crosse, Susan graduated from high school where she met her lifelong husband, Steve Harman. She earned a degree in education from the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse, while Steve served in the Navy.  Soon after they were married, they followed her sister, Joan to Boulder, Colorado. 

Susan lived in Boulder for 59 years teaching fifth and sixth grades at Burke and Foothills Elementary Schools.  During her twenty-year teaching career, Mrs. Harman was twice runner-up for Educator-of-the-Year in the State of Colorado.  She not only taught reading, writing, math and science, but also inspired her students to explore their imaginations, and discover a passion for learning.  Her students published short stories and books that would often appear in newspapers.  Visitors to Mrs. Harman’s class in the spring would find a plastic wading pool in the middle of the room, filled with crawfish, as she taught her students biology and how ecosystems worked. 

Beyond the three R’s, she taught her students to work hard, to respect themselves, and to respect others. Students always raised their hand and politely said, “yes ma’am” or “no ma’am.” There were no “yeah’s” or “nope’s” in Mrs. Harman’s class.  Never a rule follower, Susan taught her class “dressed to the nines.”  When the administration asked her to tone down her outfits, she unabashedly defended her right to wear what she wanted, and instead, focused on being on being an outstanding teacher. Mrs. Harman had a waiting list of parents a mile-long begging to have their kids in her class.  No one worked harder than Susan and she always put her students first.

Ever the dreamer, she believed that anything was possible. In addition to being an outstanding school teacher, she was a great mother to Eric and Jon, always supporting and encouraging them to chase their dreams. Growing up, the boys built a dozen giant Kinetic Conveyance Sculptures in Susan and Steve’s front yard.    Susan rallied the tolerant neighbors to cheer on her boys as they built their crazy and sometimes provocative sculptures.

A fighter until the end, Susan battled auto-immune diseases and countless surgeries later in life.  Defying the odds, her strong will proved that cats aren’t the only ones with nine lives.  Besides being an inspiration to those around her, she met Elvis Presley at a nightclub in New York City, shot a hole-in-one at Haystack golf course in Boulder, and routinely beat her two high school sons in “h-o-r-s-e” on the basketball court.  Susan was a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan, and is still waiting for their first super-bowl victory.

Susan never forgot her days on the farm and loved animals.  Late in life, she wrote a children’s book entitled, Kanga Klaus, exploring the questions, “What do the zoo animals want for Christmas?” and “Is it better to give than receive?”  Susan was a loyal wife, a devoted mother, a gifted athlete, an outstanding teacher, and an imaginative poet. She died peacefully, Sunday morning, April 7th, with her husband Steve holding her hand.  Rest well Susan.  You lived your life to the fullest, and taught us to dream big and never give up.

 

Susan Ann Harman was born in Stockton, Minnesota, February 1st, 1938 and died April 7th, 2019 in Boulder, Colorado. Susan is survived by her husband Stephan (Steve) Harman, her brother, John (Jack) Erickson and his wife Darlene, her two boys, Eric & Jon Harman, her daughter-in-law Michele Harman (Eric’s wife), and her two grandsons, Jeffrey & Jake Harman. Susan is preceded in death by her sister, Joan Fahrenholtz and her parents Hilda and Andrew Erickson.

 

Services

There will be a burial service at 11AM, Friday, April 12th, 2019 at Green Mountain Cemetery, 290 20th Street, Boulder, CO  80302. 

Following the burial service, there will be an open house celebration of Susan’s life from 12:30PM to 4:00PM, at Eric & Michele Harman’s house at 4302 Peach Way, Boulder, CO  80301.  All are welcome either or both events.

 

Cemetery

Green Mountain Cemetery | Map

Location

None

Church

None

Condolences

I was so sorry to hear of the passing of my beloved 6th Grade teacher, Mrs. Harman. I lived across the street from Burke School and my brother, my sister and myself were lucky to have had Mrs. Harman as our teacher. She was a positive role model, outstanding educator and I always loved her fashion...mini skirts and high heals. She was fair and NEVER compared me to my siblings. She is one of the reasons that I became a teacher and I just retired after 33 years in Boulder Valley Public Schools. I remember Mrs. Harman caught me chewing gum in her class, which was frowned upon in those days. She made me write 100 times, "I will not chew gum in school because it is a school rule." I raced home to finish this "homework" and put it in her cute sports car before she left school for the evening. I remember meeting her husband Steve and after he left, Mrs. Harman told me that her husband said that I would be Miss America some day because I was so pretty. As an awkward 6th grader, you don't forget when someone pays you a huge compliment. I was never Miss America, but I was truly blessed to have had Mrs. Harman as my teacher. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing Mrs. Harman with me. I loved her dearly.