Helen Harsh Obituary, Death Cause – On May 25, 2023, Helen I. Harsh, who was 98 years old and had lived in the Long Community at Highland in Lancaster for ten years, passed away quietly and went to her forever home in paradise. Assisted Living facility staff worked tirelessly to ensure that Helen, in the later years of her life, had the kind of compassionate care and comfort that made her existence more bearable. Helen was the wife of New Holland’s late James Harsh, and together they brought up three great sons.
Helen passed away in New Holland. She was the daughter of the late Leroy Frank and Kathryn Frank of New Holland, and she was born and raised on the farm the family owned. Helen was one of those kids who just seemed to fit in on the farm, so she dropped out of school after the eighth grade. She spent her younger years in New Holland working on a drill press during World War II. During that time, she gained a profound feeling of patriotism while praying and waiting for the soldiers to return home from the war.
She worked as a waitress at both the Peoples Restaurant in New Holland and the Stockyard Inn in Lancaster. Both of those establishments are located in Lancaster. In the later stages of her professional life, Helen owned and maintained H.I.H. Sales, a women’s handbag and leather goods boutique that was located in the downtown area of Ephrata, for a period of 18 years. Helen became a charter member of the New Holland VFW auxiliary in 1953. She was eligible for membership in the organization due to her husband’s overseas service in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II.
This was the beginning of her lifelong mission to assist veterans and their families in every way possible, including through the legislative process. Helen was able to work her way up through the ranks of the auxiliary and eventually became president at all four of their levels: local, districts, state, and national. It takes ten years of hard work to advance through each level and eventually reach the presidency.