Nature 14

Robert "Bob" James Harding

January 5, 1933 ~ October 12, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old

Robert "Bob" Harding Obituary

Robert “Bob” James Harding passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones on October 12, 2023, at the age of 90. He was born to Anabelle (Mae Johnson) and Harold (Bud) Harding on January 5th, 1933, in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Bob was an avid sportsman and self-taught taxidermist. Waterfowl & deer hunting, trapping, and trout fishing were his passions in the field, while boxing for Wausau Senior High and the Golden Gloves were his in the ring.  He earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in European and Russian History. While he worked on his PhD at UW-Madison, he was a member of the History Department faculty under world-renowned professor George L. Mosse. Bob taught history and sociology at UW Madison; Lincoln University (Jefferson City, MO), the University of Idaho, (Lewiston, ID); Central Washington University, (Ellensburg, WA), and Northern Montana University, (Havre, MT). He also taught history to officers and enlisted men at the USAF Base in Glasgow, MT. Bob was multilingual and spoke Russian, French, along with a bit of German.

He married Terry Jean Brennan in 1959 and they raised six children. Having left the teaching profession in 1975, the family returned to Wisconsin, settling in the little Village of Athens WI. He worked for Weyerhaeuser Company until his retirement in 1995. In his later years Bob moved to LaCrosse and lived with his daughter Jackie and her husband José until his health care needs brought him back to Central Wisconsin.

 While living in Stoddard WI, he enjoyed many trout fishing on Coon Creek, drives through the driftless area, pontoon rides on the Mississippi River, and the camaraderie received from the members of the VFW post 1530 in La Crosse WI.  He was always up for the next adventure.

Bob loved to create special nicknames and little songs for each of his six children, fifteen grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren as special gifts from him.  He leaves behind a legacy of thoughtfulness, compassion, kindness, and understanding. He never complained much, other than about a lack of fish on his favorite stream, missing tools, or the end of a beautiful autumn day.  

Bob was preceded in death by his wife Terry Jean (Brennan) Harding, his parents, brother, Thomas John Harding, sister, Jean Ann (Harding) Waddle, brother-in-law John Waddle, and grandson Anthony Scott Bergmann.

Survived by his children: Lisa (Keith) Bergmann, Wausau, WI; Daniel (Connie) Harding, Catawba, WI; Patrick (Alyse) Harding, Pelican Lake, WI; Robbye (Henry) Blennert, Rib Lake, WI; Richard (Patricia) Harding, Plover WI, Jackie (Jose) Leon, Stoddard, WI; brother Joe Harding (Tallahassee, Fl). Granddaughters, Marissa, Miranda, Kendra, Megan, Taylour, and Bailey. Grandsons, Nick, Aaron, Jesse, Eric, Evan, Cory, Tanner, and Maxwell. He loved them all unconditionally.

As a family, we would like to personally thank the staff and volunteers at Rennes Health and Rehabilitation Center in Weston, Gunderson Lutheran Hospital-LaCrosse, and Aspirus Hospital ICU and Hospice staff for their compassion and care of Bob in his later years. Your care gave us precious time that we might not otherwise have had with our Dad.    

A private family gathering to celebrate Bob’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Wisconsin Historical Society by visiting their online donation page,, click the dropdown designation menu, select ‘Other’ and direct the gift in honor or memory of Robert James Harding.

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