Edna Jessica Harder Saxton, 93, St. Joseph, Missouri, passed away on April 9, 2015.
Jessica was born Oct. 22, 1921, in Saskatchewan, Canada, to John and Mary (Schroeder) Harder. Her father was born in the Hillsboro Adobe House, built by her great-grandfather, Peter Paul Loewen. When she was a toddler, the family returned to Hillsboro, Kansas, where she grew up. As the eldest daughter, she cared for her invalid father and seven siblings.
As a young adult, she sold Christian books in the Kansas City area. After marrying her late husband, Delmar, they joined his mother in caring for the elderly. She held an honorary B.A. from Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska; was a licensed practical nurse, certified dietary manager, and a licensed nursing home administrator. In 1991, she became an American citizen.
Jessica was a lifelong member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, holding various leadership positions. She was a founding member of the Missouri Residential Care Association, served on the Missouri Western State University’s Nursing Department Advisory Board and, in 1992, she joined the Union College Board of Directors. In 2000, Union College presented her with the prestigious President’s Award.
She was best known as the chief executive officer of Saxton Care Centers. Generations of family members worked for her, while others brought their loved ones to her to be cared for. When she was 62, she persuaded the City of St. Joseph to issue industrial bonds to finance a modern long-term-care facility.
She married Delmar Saxton in 1950, who passed away in 2003. Survivors include: children, Calvin, Connie, and Timothy, Cathy Lake and Carolyn Bayliss; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; siblings, Esther Balchunas, Ida Caine, Martha Chaffin, and Fredrick Harder; plus many nieces, nephews, and extended family. She always enjoyed attending family reunions in the Hillsboro region.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Saxton Endowed Scholarship Fund, Union College, 3800 S. 48th St., Lincoln NE 68506.