Gail Harden

Obituary of Gail Elder Harden

Gail Elder Harden, 85, passed away peacefully on Friday, March 1, 2024, at her home near New Canaan, CT.


Gail (“Lucy” to her grandchildren) was born on September 3, 1938, in Greensboro, NC, to Walter Clifton Elder and Elizabeth Cheek Elder and grew up in Burlington, NC. She attended Walter Williams High School in Burlington, earned a bachelor’s degree from Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, and a master’s degree in education from the University of North Carolina. She taught early elementary education in Chapel Hill and Burlington and then devoted herself to raising her four children: Boyd, Shea, Graham, and Holmes Jr.


Gail showed an early interest in athletics as a high school cheerleader and a collegiate sportswriter. She pivoted to education and served as a substitute teacher for many years while raising her four children. She was a devout Presbyterian and a longtime member of both the First Presbyterian Church Burlington and the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan, where she led the Meals on Wheels program and served first as a Sunday School teacher and later as a deacon. She was a committed daily walker and a member of multiple garden clubs. Most memorably, Gail was known for her sweet nature, southern charm, and kindness to everyone.


Gail is survived by three of her children, Boyd (Keri) of New Canaan, CT, Shea (John Naporano) of Los Altos, CA, and Holmes (Blake) of Alexandria, VA; her daughter-in-law, Dawn of Terrace Park, OH; ten beloved grandchildren, Kendall, Lindsay, Cole, Taylor (Naporano), McKenna, Cody (Naporano), Kaleigh, Chase, Gwen, and Ryan; two sisters, Sandra Harper and Cliffie Warder (Frank); and one nephew, Reid Warder. Gail was preceded in death by her husband, Holmes, her brother-in-law, Tom Harper, and her son, Graham.


There will be a service to celebrate Gail’s life at the First Presbyterian Church in Burlington, NC, on Friday, March 22, 2024, at 2:00 pm. Streaming will be available beginning at 1:50 pm at

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