Helen I. Harsh, 98, a 10-year resident of the Long Community at Highland, Lancaster, peacefully entered her eternal home in heaven, on May 25, 2023. In her final years of life, Helen received compassionate care and comfort through the tireless efforts of the facilities’ Assisted Living staff.
Helen was the wife of the late James Harsh of New Holland and together they raised three wonderful sons. Born at home on the family farm, she was the daughter of the late Leroy and Kathryn Frank of New Holland. As a child, Helen naturally helped on the farm leaving school after 8th grade. In her early years, she worked on a drill press in New Holland during WWII, at which time she developed a deep sense of patriotism while praying and waiting for the men to return home. She was employed as a waitress at both Peoples Restaurant in New Holland and the Stockyard Inn, Lancaster. Later in her career, Helen owned and operated H.I.H. Sales, a women’s handbag and leather goods store located in downtown Ephrata, for 18 years. In 1953, having membership eligibility through her husband's overseas service in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II, Helen became a charter member of the New Holland VFW auxiliary and began her life-long quest to help veterans and their families at every facet possible, including legislation. Helen rose through the ranks to serve as president at each of the auxiliaries four levels, local, districts, state and national. Each level requiring 10 years of dedication to reach the office of president.
During her 1994 – 1995 term as National President of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, Helen’s travel included all 50 states, as well as Korea, Germany, Holland and London. She led 765,283 auxiliary members in raising over $3 million for Cancer Aid and Research, in donating over $8.4 million from the sale of homemade goods to hospitalized veterans and volunteered 2.8 million hours to non-hospitalized veterans in need of special assistance.
She was a life-long member of Ranck’s United Methodist Church in New Holland and an active volunteer at the Coatesville Veterans Hospital. In addition to living an extremely driven and active lifestyle, Helen was also a very loving and devoted mother and grandmother. While she will be greatly missed by her family and friends, she is now resting in peace.
Helen is survived by a son, James Harsh, husband of Charlotte; four grandchildren, Tim Miller, husband of Amy, Shannon Martin, wife of Rod, Casey Ann Harsh, and Jimmy Harsh, companion of Heather; six great grandchildren; and a brother, Raymond Frank.
She was preceded in death by her beloved sons, George Miller and Jack Harsh, and a brother, Earl Frank.
A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, June 1, at 1:00 PM at the Groff High Funeral Home, 145 W. Main St., New Holland, PA. Friends may visit with the family at the funeral home from 12:00 Noon until 12:45 PM. The V.F.W. Auxiliary will conduct a service at 12:45PM. Interment immediately following at Ranck’s United Methodist Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the Veterans of Foreign Wars or the American Cancer Society. To send an online condolence to the family, visit www.GroffEckenroth.com