Cover photo for Lillias Mae Harmer's Obituary
Lillias Mae Harmer Profile Photo
1925 Lillias 2021

Lillias Mae Harmer

June 14, 1925 — May 25, 2021

Lillias Mae Harmer passed away peacefully on May 25, 2021, at River's Edge Hospital in St. Peter.

Lillias was one of seven children, born in St. Peter, Minnesota on June 14, 1925 to George and Josephine Anderson.

She is survived by daughters Barbara Gaard of New Ulm, MN, Beverly (Charles) Goodell of Ludlow, IL., Bonita (Roger) Eliason of Woodbury, MN., son Jay (Maggie) Barnes of San Antonio, TX, brother Willard (Deanna) Anderson of Little Rock AR, 13 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and 20 great-great grandchildren, and many nieces & nephews.

Lillias was preceded in death by husbands Elmer Barnes (died 1980), and Merle Harmer (died 1997); daughter Patricia Poncin (died 1996); parents, George and Josephine Anderson; sisters, Gladys Anderson, Clarice Hager, Lorraine Thomas, Joanne Thomas. and twin brother Leslie Anderson.

Lillias was a farm girl at heart, and learned at a young age how to work hard, and help others, values which she continued to hold throughout her life. She also spent many happy hours as a child playing outdoors with her siblings, and the farm pets. Throughout her life she enjoyed walking every day.

Lillias married Elmer A. Barnes on June 30, 1946, in St. Peter. They lived in California for one year, before returning to St. Peter until Elmer died in 1980. Lillias married Merle Hanner in 1987, and they divided their time between St. Peter and Galt, California until Merle died in 1997.

Lillias worked at the St. Peter State Hospital for over 29 years until her retirement in 1987, working as a switchboard operator and in the sewing room. After her retirement, she travelled extensively in the U.S. and abroad. She was a lifetime member of Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Peter, where she was involved in many ministries over the years. Lillias was accomplished at many handcrafts such as sewing, knitting, crocheting and embroidery. For many years she sewed all the baptismal napkins used by the church. She especially loved quilting, making many quilts for family over the years. In later years she made hundreds of quilt-tops that were finished and donated to worthy causes by her church quilting group. She was also active in the community, delivering meals on wheels, and enjoying social activities with groups at her church and the St. Peter Red Hats group. Lillias also loved to bake, and continued making bread and cookies into her nineties, which she shared with fellow residents at the Benedictine Senior Living Community.

Lillias loved her extended family, and especially enjoyed seeing and hearing about the activities of the many children.  She had a special relationship with her twin brother, Les, sharing angel food cake with strawberries on their birthday and maintaining close contact over the years until his death. A private family service will be held. Memorials may be directed toward Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Peter.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lillias Mae Harmer, please visit our flower store.

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