Cover photo for Harriet T. Derner's Obituary
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Harriet T. Derner

January 10, 1925 — June 17, 2023

St. Peter, MN

Harriet T. Derner

Harriet T. Derner, age 98 of St. Peter, passed away Saturday (6/17/2023) at Ecumen Prairie Hill.  A private family service is planned.  A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 24, 4:00-6:00pm at the St. Peter American Legion. For a complete obituary or to leave the family a condolence, visit her obituary at www.saintpeterfuneralhome.com.

Harriet Thelma Syverson was born on a farm in New Sweden Township, MN on January 10, 1925, the second of four girls born to Helmer and Helen (Geldaker) Syverson.  She grew up there and attended Norseland Lutheran Church with her family, and the New Sweden Country School through 8th grade.  She graduated in the Class of 1943 from St. Peter High School.  During high school, the Syverson family relocated to a farm east of St. Peter where Harriet met the handsome boy next door, Vernon Derner.  They were married on May 19, 1945, in Jacksonville, Florida, while Vernon served in the US Navy during WWII.  They were married for nearly 50 years until Vernon’s death in 1995.

After the war, Harriet and Vernon settled back in St. Peter where they raised their three children:  David (1946), Sharon (1951), and Suzanne (1961), living on farms outside of town, later in the City of St. Peter, and eventually in the home they built on Lake Emily.  Vernon and Harriet owned and operated the Embassy Bar from 1956 to 1963.  Harriet later worked as the Print Room Supervisor for the Minnesota School Board Association from 1968 until she retired in 1990. 

Vernon and Harriet loved to socialize, both with their large extended families and with lifelong friends, often forming card parties, going dancing, bowling, spending time at the local VFW or American Legion, and hosting weekly Sunday brunches and dinners after attending mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in St. Peter.  Harriet was never one to sit still, spending her time cooking for family, organizing (perfecting the art of label-making long before label-makers were available), and tending to her extensive flower gardens.  She enjoyed her social hours at the American Legion, and was known for her incredible luck at both pull-tabs and meat raffles, which often supplied the main course for Sunday dinners.

Harriet is survived by her three children, David (Sally) Derner of Sioux Falls, SD, Sharon (Larry) Fitch of St. Peter, and Suzanne (Joe) Biehn of Sherburn MN, 8 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandson, sister Mae Erickson, and special friend Becky Barnes.  Harriet was preceded in death by her husband, Vernon, (1995), and 2 sisters, June Tollefson and Betty Hodges. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Harriet T. Derner, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 24, 2023

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

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