- Harriet C. Jarmol, age 98, of Grand Rapids passed away on Monday October 25, 2010

From decade to decade, Harriet Jarmol witnessed many changes throughout her long life. Through the turmoil of war and beyond the hardships of the Great Depression, she lived with the changes of time with a positive attitude. A remarkable woman, she held unmatched talents with her warm demeanor, caring personality and humble ways. Always a lady, she carried herself with a style and finesse that was all her own. Although she will be sadly missed, her memory lives on in the hearts she so graciously touched.

Looking back through the pages of time, life in 1911 seems far removed from the life that Harriet came to know in her later years. From culture to fashion, politics to economics, war and terrorism, Harriet lived through it all. Born on December 23, 1911, the way of the world was a much different place in Grand Rapids, Michigan where Edward and Katherine Jarmol welcomed the birth of a baby girl they lovingly named, Harriet. Workers labored in unsafe working conditions while child labor laws were nonexistent. Fingerprint evidence was first introduced in New York City, and the first ever feature film was released on the big screen.

Harriet's parents were born in Poland, close to the Russian border and emigrated to the U.S. seeking hope and a future. Her father, an officer in the Russian Army, asked for special permission to come to the United States by way of Ellis Island. With permission granted, he came ahead of the family he left behind in order to get established and settled before sending for them. Polish was the main language spoken in their home where Harriet’s mother looked after her and her siblings as a homemaker. Her father supported his large family of eight with work at a local Grand Rapids furniture factory. For added income, he sold the Polish newspaper to other Polish emigrants who also settled in the area.

Life for Harriet as a child was typical for the times. She enjoyed reading and walking, and always cherished a close relationship with her older sister, Victoria, and her youngest brother, Bob. They lived on the city’s northwest side which held a close knit Polish community. Harriet attended the local schools before graduating from Union High School. With a desire and the opportunity to further her education, she began attending Eastern College where she majored in home economics. Her mother was a large influence on Harriet’s career choice as she held her in high regard for managing such a large household as well as she did. Soon after graduating from college, Harriet began her career teaching home economics at Godwin High School in 1934. She eventually retired in 1977.

Throughout the years Harriet enjoyed favorite pastimes such as listening to the radio. She favored opera music, and could easily translate the beautiful stories unfolding in song. Golfing was her sport of choice and she held membership with the Green Ridge Country Club for many years. Always complimented for her perfect swing, she went on to become a member of Egypt Valley Country Club where she often took in the social events there. Nothing could compare to Harriet’s sense of humor. She absolutely loved telling jokes which always brought a hearty laugh to those in her company. People got the biggest bang out of her joke telling as she could pull them off with the best of them. Her famous punch lines were the greatest.

With a combination of hobby and pleasure, Harriet found joy in filming, producing and editing movie pictures with her 8mm camera. She became quite talented at it, and now leaves her productions as a lasting memory to be treasured for years to come. One of her movies in particular was a beautifully orchestrated double exposure about an angel, and her mother played the parts. She also filmed one of her sibling’s homes while it was being built, and of course, her beloved nephew and niece had the starring roles.

After retiring, Harriet spent much of her time golfing, visiting the art museum, reading, walking and baking. She made the most fabulous cookies and was a marvelous baker in general. Her homemade white bread was the best. Even as it baked, the delicious smell in her home was just a precursor to the senses before a mouth watering taste was even taken. Harriet herself enjoyed a good plate of bacon and eggs, and was known for her snacks of caramel corn, and in the heat of the summer, she loved crunchy ice cream bars.

Harriet was a remarkable woman with a very positive attitude in life. She held many wonderful talents and was quite knowledgeable in many respects. A warm, humble and caring person, she carried herself with unmatched style and finesse.

At the age of 98, Harriet passed away on Monday, October 25, 2010. A remarkable woman who led a remarkable life, she witnessed much throughout the many decades in which she lived. From seven U.S. involved wars to the Great Depression, she experienced social changes and cultural ramifications. From racial tensions to peace demonstrations, Harriet saw it all. Her memory will always hold a warm place in the hearts of those she leaves behind.

Survived by several nieces and nephews, visitation for Harriet will take place at the Heritage Life Story Funeral Home-Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW on Wednesday, 7:00-9:00 PM with a Rosary service at 7:00 PM. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, October 28, 2010, 10:00 AM at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 423 First Street, Grand Rapids. Interment in Holy Cross Cemetery. Contributions in her memory to St. Mary’s Catholic Church are appreciated. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to read share a memory or to sign her online guest book.