WINDHAM – Mildred Washington “Mimsi” (Briggs) Harder of Steep Falls, Maine, died on September 7, 2022, at a health facility in Windham. Mimsi was born in 1936 in Trenton, New Jersey, the third daughter of Leonard and Margaret Briggs. She had battled valiantly against the pernicious effects of senility related to Alzheimer’s for nearly a decade, cared for lovingly and faithfully by her husband of 64 years, Richard Kent Harder.
Mimsi spent the first years of her life in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, before moving to Andover, New York in 1948, where her father founded the Andover China Company.
Graduating as Valedictorian of Andover High School’s class of 1954, she then received a B.A. degree in English from Elmira College in 1958. She married her beloved husband, Richard, on December 13, 1958, and began her career in education as a third-grade teacher at the Bryant School in Hornell, NY. From 1963 to 1972, she became a full-time homemaker, caring for her two children. In 1972, the family moved to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where she resumed her education career, teaching elementary school classes at The Good Hope School. After the family moved to Illinois in 1979, she worked in alumni relations and development at various private schools until she and her husband retired and moved to Steep Falls in 1997.
A loving and caring wife, mother, and grandmother (Nana), Mimsi was always busy and eager to socialize with relatives, friends, and neighbors. Up until her illness, she was an avid reader and loved playing all types of games. She enjoyed the ocean, snorkeling, biking, birds, traveling, antiquing, and taking daily walks. A creative cook, Mimsi compiled an impressive collection of recipes and cookbooks over the years.
Additionally, Mimsi was an accomplished seamstress, even making all of the bridesmaids’ dresses for her daughter and her son’s weddings. Although initially she was not keen to have pets, she eventually became a lover of dogs, and cats, in particular, and over the last few decades, she and Richard always had one or two feline members in the family. She was active in several social groups including Newcomers’ clubs, garden clubs, bridge groups, church groups, and gourmet clubs. She loved to entertain in her home, organizing theme parties and dinners. Mimsi was a kind, gentle, and congenial person. She always made sure to end conversations with her children and grandchildren saying, “Be sure to take good care of yourself.”
In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her two sisters, Margaret Spraker and Carol Baehre. Surviving in addition to her husband, Richard, are her son, Adam Tod Harder, and his wife Kristin Moomaw Harder, of Arlington, Massachusetts; daughter Cynthia Briggs of New Canaan, Connecticut; grandchildren Keira and Keagan Harder, Chloe, Briggs, Boden, and Benet Polikoff; and several great nieces and nephews.
The family thanks the staff at Stroudwater Lodge in Westbrook, and Ledgewood Manor in Windham who cared for Mimsi with such compassion, kindness, and dignity during the last few weeks of her life.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Saxon Inn in Alfred at 11:00 a.m. on Monday (June 26, 2023). Her ashes will be laid to rest at 2:00 p.m. at Hillside Cemetery in Andover. Local arrangements are under the direction of Baker-Swan Funeral Home in Andover, New York. Online condolences may be offered at www.baker-swan.com.
Memorial contributions in Mildred’s name may be made to Alzheimer’s Association 225 N. Michigan Ave, Florida 17 Chicago, Illinois 60601 or to the Andover Free Library PO Box 745, Andover, New York 14806 © 2023 Baker-Swan Funeral Home.