Robert Harder, 89; Oneonta Barbershop Chorus Founder

IN MEMORIAM: Robert Harder, 89;

Oneonta Barbershop Chorus Founder

Bob Harder
Bob Harder

ONEONTA – Robert (Bob) Harder, 89, of Oneonta, retired X-ray technician and founder of the first Oneonta Barbershop Chorus,  passed away Oct. 19, 2015, at Fox Nursing Home, following a brief illness.

He was born in Syracuse on May 29, 1926, Bob was raised in Madrid, St. Lawrence County, where during his high school years he excelled in basketball and baseball.  He also served as class president during his senior year.

Sixty-eight years ago, he married Betty Jane Snyder of Syracuse.  In 1954, Bob accepted a position as x-ray technician at Homer Folks Hospital and moved his wife and two sons to Oneonta.  Following Homer Folks’ closing in the early 1970s, he continued as a technician, but this time at Fox Hospital, until his retirement in 1988.

In addition to the many summers spent camping in the Adirondacks with family and friends, Bob loved music.  Before arthritis began limiting his dexterity, he spent endless hours practicing on his Paramount tenor banjo, which was left to him by his father, Delos Harder.  The family would always know when Bob was in an exceptional mood, as the neighborhood would ring with old time favorite tunes.  His musical talents were again evident in the early 1960s of the Barbershop Chorus and associated quartets.

As a “do-it-yourself” man, Bob enjoyed all aspects of woodwork, home repair, and general carpentry.  These carefully honed “jack of all trades” skills were evident in his own home and in the homes of his children and friends.  Countless hours of his time resulted in beautiful trim work, flawless drywall installation, and outdoor construction projects that continue to weather time.  These talents were also put to excellent use when he served on the Building and Grounds Committee at the First Presbyterian Church in Oneonta.

Bob also enjoyed his many friends and mostly his family.  He could often be found at the Oneonta Country Club with his foursome or floating for hours in a small fishing boat in Maine.  Bob almost always returned home with an ice chest full of fish! Bob was a dedicated, caring family man.  He was never without a joke to enliven the family celebrations.

Bob is survived by his loving wife, Betty; his sons, Robert Harder and wife, Cheryl, of Oneonta and David Harder and wife, Geri, of West Oneonta; his grandchildren, Craig Harder of West Seneca, Brian Harder of Troy, Lauren Harder of Cazenovia, Brendan Harder of Port Crane, and Rebecca Harder of Otego; along with his great grandchildren, Tyler and Grant Harder of Franklin, Tenn.

Calling hours are 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, 14 Grand St.  A short service will immediately follow at 7 p.m., with the Rev. Mark Montfort, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, officiating.

Committal services will be at a later date for the immediate family at the Glenwood Cemetery.

As an animal lover, in lieu of flowers, Bob would have wished for donations to be made to your local SPCA.

Condolences to the family may be made online by visiting our website:

Arrangements are entrusted to Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home.

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