Jeanette O. Harnly, resident at Landis Homes Retirement Community in Lititz and formerly of Manheim, died peacefully on Monday, June 2, 2014, with her husband by her side. She was 91 years old. Born in Easton, she was the daughter of the late Earl C. Otto Sr. and Marguerite (Lerchenmiller) Otto Crouthamel.
She is survived by her husband Jacob L. Harnly, daughter Judith H. Maurice (Keith) of New Holland, and son Dr. Neal S. Harnly of Elizabethtown; sisters Ethel L. Stemen of Jacksonville, FL and Louise L. Reppert of Easton, half-brother Reading Crouthamel (Margaret) of Bath; four grandchildren: Jeffrey S. Shirk (Tara Yount) of Elizabethtown, Heather N. Blake (Ryan) of Lewisburg, WV, Taylor J. Brandt (Sara) of Lancaster, and Elyse M. Catoe (Colin) of Kingwood, TX; five great-grandchildren: Keira A. Shirk, Andrew R. Blake, Jillian Yount, Sage Renee Brandt, and Brandt R. Blake; her cousin and dear friend Doris Weaver of Hockessin, DE, and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her first husband, Harry Dietzman, who died in their first year of marriage, her daughter A. Renee Brandt, sisters Gertrude M. Hedrick and Marie I. Bailey, brothers Norman A. Otto, John P. Otto, Earl C. Otto, William A. Otto, stepsisters Dorothy Golla, Florence Miller, Edna Beishline Morrow, and stepbrothers Ralph Crouthamel, Clarence Crouthamel and Stanley Crouthamel.
An artist who specialized in oil painting, she had studied at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia on full scholarship and painted throughout most of her life. In the 1940s and 50s she was known for her "chalk talks", inspirational messages that she presented to an audience while rendering chalk drawings. She also loved to create poetry, and enjoyed a lifelong ministry of writing letters of encouragement to others, often including her own verse. In her later years she worked as a tour guide in the Amish country where she was known for the accuracy of the information she conveyed, as well as her entertaining style and humorous anecdotes.
For many years she served as deaconess, taught Sunday School and ministered to others through her hospitality and generous spirit. As a widow in her early twenties, she formed a JOY Club for 40 inner-city children in Philadelphia, taking them to the beach, helping to feed and clothe them and teaching them about Jesus. At the time of her death, she was a member of Mount Joy Mennonite Church.
The family wishes to recognize the skilled and loving care that Jeanette received at Landis Homes.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend her memorial service at Landis Homes Retirement Community, WEST BETHANY CHAPEL, 1001 East Oregon Road, Lititz on Sunday, June 15, 2014 at 4:00 PM. Interment will be private in Kraybill Mennonite Cemetery, East Donegal Township. Friends may visit with the family immediately following the service. Please omit flowers. Those desiring may send contributions in Jeanette’s memory to Landis Homes Caring Fund, Development Office, 1001 East Oregon Road, Lititz, PA 17543.