Obituary For Mary Jean Pettit Harden
September 29, 1928 - November 13, 2022

Mary Jean Pettit Harden, 94, passed away at the UNC Rockingham Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center in Eden, NC, on Sunday, November 13, 2022.

A visitation will be held from 4-6pm Monday, November 21, 2022, at Fair Funeral Home in Eden, NC. A funeral service will be held at 1pm Tuesday, November 22, 2022 at Leaksville United Methodist Church, 603 Henry St, Eden NC 27288. Burial will follow at Lawson Cemetery in Eden. A reception will follow the burial at Morehead-Fair House, located beside Fair Funeral Home.

She is survived by her two daughters, Martha Harden Smith and her husband, George D. Smith, Kemptville, Ontario, Canada, and Sue Harden Oakley and her husband, Robert Carson Oakley, Jr., of Fountain Hills, Arizona;  her two granddaughters, Georgia Smith Stratton and her husband, Russell Stratton, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Caroline Smith and her partner, Devin Roberts, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; and her two great-grandchildren, Theodore Robert Stratton and Flora Jean Stratton, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  She is also survived by her sister, Anne Pettit Huffman of Greenville, South Carolina; her cousin, Mary Ann Hester, of Saluda, North Carolina; her niece, Jeanie Huffman Carter, Daniel Island, SC, and her two nephews, Earle Huffman and Will Huffman, both of Columbia, SC, and their families.

She was predeceased by her husband of 68 years, Robert Allen Harden, Jr.; her mother, Ruth Willis Pettit and her father, Leland E. Pettit, both of Greenville, South Carolina; and her brother, Leland E. Pettit III of Atlanta, Georgia.

Jean was born and raised in Greenville, SC.  She and Bob married in 1947 and eventually settled in Eden.  Jean volunteered much of her time as a Brownie leader, a member of the Morehead Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, and as a member of Leaksville United Methodist Church.  She was a founding member of the Town and Country Garden Club, a member of the Junior Service League, a member of the Border Book Club and the Leaksville Spray History Club.  She was also a member of the George Reynolds Chapter of the DAR.

She was well known for being an excellent cook, and both of her daughters often phoned long-distance from as far away as Arizona, Puerto Rico, Canada and Scotland for help with recipes.  Pound cakes were her specialty – whenever she had butter and eggs sitting out on the kitchen counter, Bob, Sue and Martha knew that Jean was getting ready to bake something delicious. 

One of Jean’s greatest joys was hosting groups of friends and family at either small dinner parties or larger gatherings.  She took meals to friends who were sick or bereaved.  So many times she gave of herself to help brighten someone’s day or cheer up a friend.  She enjoyed travelling to visit family and she kept her and Bob’s extended family close.  She and Bob saw many miles of I-85 built as they drove to Greenville and Atlanta on it for years!

Jean’s daughters gratefully acknowledge all the dedicated staff of UNC Rockingham Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center for the compassionate care of their mother for over 11 years.  They also thank the many friends and neighbors who supported Jean with visits and cards.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Leaksville United Methodist Church, 603 Henry Street, Eden, NC 27288, or to the charity of one’s choice.

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