David R. Harrer

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Girl with Flowers

David Rolf Harrer, artist, age 68, passed away on Thursday, December 20, 2018 at Mercyhealth Hospital in Janesville, WI. Born November 29, 1950 to Dr. Alfred and Mrs. Virginia Harrer in Baraboo, WI, David was a 1969 graduate of Beloit Memorial High School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in art from Beloit College in 1975.

In 1968 at age 17, David suffered a serious head injury in an auto accident while a passenger in a car driven by a friend. Within five years he developed symptoms of schizophrenia that plagued him for the rest of his life. Despite his disability, David completed high school and college, displayed his paintings at local art events and was an outspoken member of NAMI, the National Association for the Mentally Ill. Let us also recall his love of drawing; visitors to his home usually found him sketching in one of the countless notebooks he filled over the years.

Until he lost his mobility, David lived independently and dropped by to see his mother daily. In 2015, he entered Rock Haven Nursing Home in Janesville where he was well cared for and well liked for his humor and goodwill. Survivors include his four siblings: Marcia Duckens of Milwaukee, Mark (Margaret) Harrer of Danville, CA, Jonathan of Seattle, WA and Peter of Beloit. Other survivors are nieces, nephews and their families: Mara (Kevin Kriehn) Duckens, Seth (Masha Chernyak) Duckens, Kristen (Jarod) Huffman, Alison (James) Langston.

We are grateful to the staff and physicians at Rock Haven Nursing Home and at Mercyhealth Hospital of Janesville for the care they provided.

At David's request there will be no services; cremation rites were held. Memorials may be sent to NAMI of Rock County, 120 North Crosby Avenue, Suite 11, Janesville, WI 53548. Please share a memory or a condolence with the family on our website.


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