Elva Jean (Harbaugh) Naylor, daughter of Herschel and Stella (Fike) Harbaugh, was born on November 3, 1924, in Waterloo, Iowa (Black Hawk County). She was one of four children born to the family and raised in the Orange Square area. Her father farmed crops and had dairy cattle on the Harbaugh farm. Elva Jean attended the local schools and graduated from Orange High School in 1942.
She attended and graduated from McPherson College in 1946 and taught in Lorraine, Kansas one year. On June 3, 1947, Elva Jean was united in marriage to her college sweetheart, Kent E. Naylor, in Waterloo, Iowa. The couple served two years of Brethren Volunteer Service in Cararra, Italy where their daughter, Jan was born. They returned to Chicago to Brethren Seminary where son, Ron, was born. After living in Nebraska, they moved to Cabool, Missouri where son, Max, was later born in Mountain Grove, Missouri.
Elva Jean led a life full of various commitments as a pastor's wife in numerous towns including; Warrensburg, Missouri, Mogadore, Ohio, Waterloo, Iowa, Elgin, Illinois, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Wichita, Kansas, and Sidney, Ohio. As the children grew, she took on jobs involving social work, child care programs, senior citizen's programs, church pianist and organist. Elva Jean returned to McPherson to retire and live among their close college friends at Cedars Retirement Center in 1991. They even lived in a duplex and shared a roof with their old college roommates. Her final accomplishment and most rewarding experience came as coordinator of volunteers for the Cedars Retirement Center, McPherson Hospital, and McPherson Church of the Brethren. Elva Jean's most enjoyable quote was, "How may I help you?" She loved making connections and assisting people, playing games, enjoying music, and spending time with her family, relatives, and friends.
Kent preceded her in death on August 25, 2015.
Friendship was important any place that she lived. The church had been a huge and defining part of her life along with family, friends, and health. She lived by Matthew 25:40, "And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Elva Jean’s peaceful passing came on Sunday, December 6, 2020. She was ninety-six.
Survivors include: daughter, Janice Tracey of Garden City, KS; son, Max Naylor and wife, Ann, of Myerstown, PA; daughter-in-law, Cynthia of Kansas City, MO; seven grandchildren, Suzanne Sanchez and husband, Justin, Nicholas Yeager and wife, Joanna, Jennifer Clossick and husband, Steven, Elizabeth Heath and husband, Ryan, Sarah Bird and husband, Joshua, Tori Dissinger and husband, Miles, Lisa Hoffman and husband, Joshua; step-granddaughter, Colleen Fisher; great-grandsons, Cyrus, Alex, Jackson, Tristan, Noah, Lewis, and Sawyer; great-granddaughters, Emma, Lily, Aysjah, Miley, Maya, Kynzie, Cora, and Nova; brother, Merlin Harbaugh; sister-in-law, Gladys Naylor of McPherson, KS; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, sister, Lola Mae Nettleton, brother, Forrest Harbaugh, son, Ronald Naylor, and son-in-law, James Tracey.
A celebration of Elva Jean’s life is pending and details will be announced at a later date.
Memorial donations may be given to the McPherson College Scholarship Fund or The Cedars in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 N. Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Elva Jean Naylor please visit our Sympathy Store.