The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Meet Your Neighbor

By Dessa Rodeffer/Quill Publisher


Meet your neighbors, Duane and Norma Jean (Perdue) Harden of rural Raritan, both lifelong residents of Henderson County.

Norma Jean was raised in the Gladstone-Oquawka area until 5th grade when they moved near Biggsville at Junction 34 & 116. She attended Gladstone Grade School, Pogue and Coloma country schools and attended junior high and high school in Biggsville where she graduated in 1955. She was Miss Sylvania in 1956 where she was employed from 1955-56. She has also worked at Bygones & Buds, Vancils Locker, Supervisor at Oak Lane 6 1/2 years, and 8 years custodian at Union School. 

Duane was born in the farm house they live in. He went to Stanley one room school 8 years and was taught by Miss Esther Wilson, Miss Gothard Rankin, and Miss Martha Spears. He is a 1954 graduate of Media Weaver High School.

He married Norma on September 16, 1956 and they will celebrate 50 years this fall. They lived in Raritan with his folks for 3 months and then to a house in Raritan on Evergreen Street that later was destroyed in the 1995 tornado. In 1957, they moved to the Simonson place of Grace McKeown until 63 when they moved to the farm home where Duane was born. His mother built a new home in Raritan after his father died in a tractor accident in 1959.

The couple have three children: Brenda (husband Patrick) Brokaw; Robert (wife Sharie Chockley) Harden both rural Stronghurst; Melinda (husband Vince) Whiteman of Biggsville and nine grandchildren.

Norma is involved in the Raritan Baptist Church Christian Education Board Chair, Kings Daughters Missionary Circle, and Women's Society, and she enjoys social time with the local red hat club, the 'Purple Misfits.'

Duane is involved with the Henderson County Old Tyme Show, held most offices in the church, on the music committee, sings in the choir, is a member of the Raritan Fire Dept., Raritan Cemetery Board, Regional School Trustee Board. 

He enjoys antique tractors, gas engines, forging metal decorative dinner bells, driving a covered wagon, and she enjoys sewing, gardening, and volunteers at Roseville Nursing home.