September 25, 1942 – February 1, 2022
On February 1, 2022, our beloved Marva was called into the glorious presence of her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, as her grandchildren sang, “Nearer My God to Thee.” Releasing her was such ‘sweet sorrow.’
She was predeceased by her father, Rev. Bill MacDonald in 1956, her mother May MacDonald in 2007 and her brother Neil MacDonald in 2009. She is survived by her husband Duane of 57 years; three children and their spouses, Carla (Dean) Adams (Cambridge, ON), Cheryl (Craig) Webber (Lethbridge, AB), Lowell (Heather) Harder (Redwood Meadows, AB); 28 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren; and sister Judy (Bill) Snyder (Carstairs, AB).
Marva was born on September 25, 1942 in Eckville, Alberta and three years later her father accepted a call to pastor the Crossfield Baptist Church. On their first Sunday, a shy little girl stood with her face buried in her mother’s coat with her black ringlets drooping down her shoulders. This caught the attention of a four-year-old boy who later became her husband. Marva’s exposure to adversity started as a newborn. Two babies born at the Eckville Hospital contracted whooping cough. Marva was the one that survived. At age nine Marva caught polio when it swept through the Crossfield area. She spent a year of her life in the Junior Red Cross Hospital in Calgary. The doctors said she would not walk again, but by the grace of God, perseverance and determination, she set aside her wheelchair for crutches, then braces and finally achieved walking shoes.
Marva trained as a legal secretary at Henderson Business College in Calgary. She then attended Northwest Baptist Theological College in Vancouver. Duane Harder, from her hometown and home church was also studying there. He became more than a trusted friend in these three years. Following graduation with a Bachelor of Religious Education, they married and went on to pastor churches in Campbell River, Castlegar and Vernon, B.C. In retirement Duane and Marva moved to Bragg Creek, Alberta to be closer to family, and more recently to Grande Avenue Village in Cochrane, Alberta.
She was committed to the call of God on Duane’s life. This meant carrying the administrative weight and faithful prayer for his church development ministry which required considerable travel; along with managing the home in his absence. Looking from the outside in, Marva might have been noted as a perfectionist. However, from the inside looking out, developing order and organizational systems helped her conserve energy and navigate more safely. Marva allowed the circumstances of her life to make room for God. There was nothing too small to pray about — like a lost shopping list. Her complete dependence on God gave Him a large place to fill.
Marva was a beautiful and rare flower. Our family will miss her love, kindness, faith, steadfastness, and sense of dignity. We will forever cherish her memory. She was ours for a time, God’s daughter for eternity.
A Celebration of Marva’s life will take place at Crossfield Baptist Church (285176 Highway 2A Crossfield, Alberta) on Friday, February 18, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. Interment will be at the Crossfield Cemetery prior to the service at 1:30 p.m. A livestream of the Celebration of Life can be viewed at the following link: www.facebook.com/crossfieldbaptistchurch.
Messages of condolence may be left for the family at www.cochranecountryfuneral.com
Cochrane Country Funeral
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