In Memory of
Patty Harding


Patty Harding with her husband Howard


Patricia Ann "Patty" Harding (nee Miller), 79, died at home on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.

Cremation has already occurred. A Memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 5 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, 3300 Morewood Road, Akron, OH 44333 (330-836-2206), with Reverend Tim Temerson officiating.

Patty was born on February 5, 1937 to Mary Richard (nee Cox) and Peter E. Richard of Akron, Ohio. In 1950, at age 13, Patty contracted polio, then persevered through seven painful months of physical therapy that enabled wheelchair mobility.

Following her high school graduation via home instruction, Patty attended business school which led to a 48 year career as the secretary to the president of the L. A. Anderson Company, a small local manufacturers' representative firm.

Not content with just a day job, Patty also joined – and usually became the leader of – numerous social and professional groups, including Park-a-Teen Youth Center in Firestone Park and Quota Club International-Akron, a professional businesswomen's group that raises money to supply hearing aids, guide dogs and educational assistance for hearing-impaired people.

While active in Park-a-Teen, Patty met Chick Watkins, with whom she later co-hosted a Saturday morning show on local radio station WCUE, featuring students from area high schools playing and critiquing records of music popular at their school, and promoting their school's activities. For many years thereafter, Patty served as WCUE's Saturday office secretary. 

While a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Patty helped create a Young Adult Group, where she first met her husband-to-be, Howard Harding. 

Patty and her fellow Westminster Young Adults visited numerous area churches to learn about other religions, particularly those significantly different from Presbyterianism. Among those was the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Akron, where they first attended a session of its Monday Night Discussion Group. Patty and Howard decided to return for a Sunday morning service, soon became members and were married there on May 28, 1971. Since then, Patty actively served on multiple church committees, among others, House and Grounds, Hospitality, Personnel, Women's Association, and Social Action.

Soon after Howard taught her to drive, Patty and friend Mary Lou Griffiths drove to and from Oklahoma City to visit mutual friend Tom Johnson then undergoing Air Force basic training. Upon returning to Akron, Patty proclaimed her wish to visit all 50 states – a wish fulfilled during Patty and Howard's 45 years of marriage. In between domestic travels, they also visited nine European countries – from Iceland to Italy – four Canadian Provinces, and the Bahamas. Various family members and friends shared much of their travel.

Patty was preceded in death by her mother, Mary Cox Miller in June 2009; her adoptive father, James Goebel Miller, Jr. in January 2011; and sister, Kathy Musci-Durnes (Edward) in September 2016. She is survived by her
husband, Howard Harding; sister, Theresa Miller; brother, Thomas Miller (Kimberly); and numerous nieces, nephews, other family members and friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Akron Post-Polio Support Group (mail to Brenda Ferguson, 71 Donze Ct., Tallmadge, OH 44278), or to the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Akron (3300 Morewood Road, Akron OH 44333).

Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Jan. 22, 2017