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Connie Harkrader, 69, of Coleman

Connie Lee Harkrader went home to be with the Lord on May 9, 2023, after losing her battle with a stroke. Born Connie Lee Smith on March 10, 1954, she was the oldest of nine children born to Beverley and Merle Smith of Rhodes, MI.

Connie was married to her first husband, Harold Shannon, in 1973. Together, they had one daughter (Rebecca) in 1977. Connie and Harold were married for 39 years before they divorced. She met Alan Harkarder in the Spring of 2016 and they were married July 10, 2016.

Connie started her early adult life working as a nurse’s aide. From there, she worked as a clerk at a convenience store. In the 1990s, she was employed by MidMichigan Health in Midland. It was here that she met her lifelong friend Norma Massey. Connie and Norma were always together, often getting into mischief! Connie worked in different capacities at the hospital, from housekeeper to patient transport to patient care tech. After she retired, she took a part-time job as a medical courier.

Connie was always busy and had many interests. She was an accomplished quilter and she loved to sew. Even though she would argue this, she was an excellent cook. She was an outstanding baker and her favorite thing to bake was pies. She loved making Christmas goodies and one of her specialties was caramel corn. Connie also loved canning and always put up an impressive stock of vegetables each Fall. She took pride not just in the canning itself, but of making the jars look artful. Connie loved to travel. As a child, she traveled with her family extensively in Canada. As an adult, she had been as far West as California, as far South as Florida, and as far East as Virginia. She spent time in New Mexico and lived for a while in Kentucky. One of her favorite places she visited was Jackson Hole, Wyoming on a trip West she took with her brother, Brian. Later in her life, she met her friend Nancy Bell and they had lots of fun exploring places like Traverse City and Charlevoix. They were great travel partners. Connie also went through a period of time when she was very interested in genealogy and she traced her family roots back for several generations. She loved doing puzzles, playing, cards, and going to rummage sales.

Connie was preceded in death by her sister Cheryl, brother Douglas, mother Beverley, father Merle, and her first husband, Harold Shannon. She is survived by her husband Alan Harkrader, daughter Rebecca (Amy) Witzel,  step-daughter Kathleen (Enson) Levely, grandchildren Ayla, Hudson, Allison, and Caila, siblings Anita Green, Susan (Charles) Schaefer, and Brenda (Norman) Eddy, Brian (Hope) Smith, John (LeAnn) Smith, and Kevan (Wanda) Smith, as well as many nieces, nephews, and great-grandchildren.

Connie was a devoted mother, grandmother, wife, and friend. She was kind-hearted and helped anyone she knew was in need. Her death will leave a huge hole in the lives of many.

Funeral Services will be held on Monday, May 15, 2023, 11:00 A.M. at Hall-Kokotovich Funeral Home, Beaverton. Visitation will be held from 10:00 A.M. until the time of service. She will be laid to rest at Bentley Twp. Cemetery, Rhodes. www.hall-kokotovichfuneralhome.com.

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