Obituary of Jean Mary Harach
Jean Mary Harach passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family on Monday, December 21, 2020 – the Winter Solstice.
Music was an ever-present thread that connected Jean’s entire life. As a young girl living in Biggar, SK, Jean’s mother and father – Vera and Dave McKerrow – made it possible for her to study piano. At 9 years of age, every Saturday Jean would board the train in Biggar, by herself, and travel to Saskatoon to study piano with Dr. Lyell Gustin. Jean completed high school with the Sisters of Sion in Saskatoon, where she was very involved in the musical life of the academy. By the time Jean completed high school she had attained an Associate Diploma in Piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Jean’s heart was in music but, made the decision to train as a nurse and graduated from St. Paul’s Hospital School of Nursing in the early 1950’s. She nursed for several years, saving her money until she was able to embark on a European tour with a steamer trunk in tow, visiting Austria, England and Scotland. The courage and tenacity for a young woman, in the late 1950’s, to embark on such a journey, by herself, explains much about Jean’s character, tenacity, curiosity, her fierce desire for independence, love of adventure and the spirit with which she lived her life.
Jean’s roommate and Ernie’s sister- Marge – introduced Ernie to Jean. When Jean Mary McKerrow married Ernest Julian Harach in 1960, they moved to Radisson, SK, where Ernie farmed, and Jean began teaching piano. Looking back to this point in time, who could have predicted the impact Jean would have on generations of children, young adults and their families through music. Jean taught piano for 50 years and touched the lives of many students. She inspired them to love music and strive to achieve. In return, Jean enjoyed the wonderful friendships that developed with her students and was uplifted by their youthful energy and sense of humour.
« For many years you have shaped and moulded the boy in which you see today. I can never thank you enough for preparing me for the greater reality which I am about to enter. Teachers are like candles; they consume themselves in order to light the way for others. Thank you for shining so brightly and sacrificing so much more for others. I promise that as the future approaches, I will try my hardest and with always, my signature stamp of humour.
With Love, Ian Chang »
Jean believed in lifelong learning. She studied the piano throughout her life with various teachers and began taking courses at the University of Saskatchewan in the 1960’s. These first courses ignited a desire to study. In her later fifties, the opportunity presented itself to complete her university studies in Ottawa. In 1995, Jean convocated, with distinction, from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music.
With Ernie, Jean always welcomed change in their life. Often this meant a move to a new city in Saskatchewan or across the country. This would inevitably mean finding a house, renovating and most important of all, creating a beautiful new home for their family. There was often a cottage: from a shack tent at Waskesiu to a cabin on Anglin Lake and finally a beautiful cottage, with many happy memories, on Echo Lake. Jean had a great energy and compassion for life, her family and community. She always looked to the future and embraced what life gave her and in doing so touched the lives of many people along the way.
Jean loved and lived music. She was deeply moved by the beauty and humanity of classical music. The wonder she experienced through her connection with music instilled her with a deep sense of humility. In this light we would like to offer a ‘Playlist’ of a few of Jean’s favourite pieces of music. All available on YouTube.
S. Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 3 (Martha Argerich, Riccardo Chailly)
Schubert Impromptu Op. 90, No. 3 (Alfred Brendel)
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 Op. 58 (Mitsuko Uchida, Mariss Jansons)
Oh Danny Boy (John Brancy and Peter Dugan)
Jean is survived by her husband Ernest (Ernie); daughters Janet (Stewart) and Tamara (Michael); grandchildren Hannah and Sam; her sister Margaret ‘Peggy’ (Archie) and families as well as the extended Harach family.
We love you Jean and you will be deeply missed by family and friends.
Flowers graciously declined. Donations can be made in memory of Jean to the Salvation Army or charity of your choice.
Family and friends will be invited for a get together to celebrate Jean’s life, at a later date.
To plant a tree in memory of Jean Harach, please visit Tribute Store
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Jean
Harach 1935 2020..
Décès pour la Ville: Regina, Province: Saskatchewan