Elsa Harmon Obituary

Elsa  Wittmack Harmon
Elsa Wittmack Harmon

November 15, 1941 - August 1, 2021
Born in Des Moines, Iowa
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
  • Contat Us
  • Videos
  • Guestbook
  • Photos
  • Services
  • Send Flowers


Muffy was born November 15th, 1941 at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. She died on August 1st, 2021 at UnityPointe Hospice - Taylor House in Des Moines. She is survived by her husband, Henry, daughters Liesl (George) Roesch with grandsons Peter and Lawson and Abigail Allard with grandchildren Henry, Madeline and Elise. She is also survived by her brother, Arthur Wittmack (Susan), nephew Charles Wittmack (Colleen) and niece Ellen Donnelly (Erling) as well as many 1st and 2nd cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, Elsa and Charles Wittmack as well as grandparents Arthur and Elsa Neumann and Ellen and Charles Wittmack.

Outside of the family, Muffy’s considerable and charitable efforts were directed toward her community and the care of creation. She was involved in the formation of Hospice of Central Iowa for which she led the drive for Medicare certification, presided over the Board and held the hands of many grieving patients. Muffy was also one of the founders of Cool Congregations, now Iowa Interfaith Power and Light for the conservation of energy. She was the first female Senior Warden of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Des Moines and Chaired the Second Century Fund Drive for the renovation of the Church. Muffy was passionate about water. She served on the board of Garden Clubs of America overseeing nationally the organization’s efforts for water preservation. She was a tireless advocate for “swimmable, fishable, drinkable water!”

Muffy was an avid gardener and an active member of Founders Garden Club of Des Moines planting large gardens in Des Moines and at the Harmon’s summer home on Madeline Island, Lake Superior, Wisconsin. She was a founder and avid supporter of the Madeline Island Community Garden providing food for the poor and underfed. She was the founder and chair of Slow Food Madeline Island which supported the food shelf at St. John’s UCC Madeline Island. Muffy worked with garden and food groups from her local Founders Garden Club to the Iowa State Soil Commission and Slow Foods International.

She was ordained to the vocational diaconate of the Episcopal Church on January 10, 1999. In that ministry of servanthood she served The Cathedral Church of St. Paul and St. Lukes Episcopal Church, both of Des Moines, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church of West Des Moines and Christ Episcopal Church Bayfield which included a native American contingent. She also traveled the State of Iowa preaching in support of Episcopal Relief and Development for the Dioceses.

Muffy was an enthusiastic Board Member of Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation furthering many of the causes she cherished. She belonged to many Civic organizations and committees, Junior League of Des Moines, Proteus and Comment Club to mention only three.

A celebration of Life is planned for Muffy on November 24, 2021 at 4:00 PM at her church, The Cathedral Church of Saint Paul, 815 High Street in Des Moines. (The Diocese of Iowa suggests that all attendees be masked.) A reception will follow the service at the Wakonda Club, 3915 Fleur Drive in Des Moines.





A Celebration Of Life
Cathedral Church of St. Paul
815 High Street
Des Moines, IA US 50309
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
4:00 PM


Cathedral Church of St. Paul
815 High Street
Des Moines, IA US 50309
Food Bank of Iowa
P.O. Box 1517
Des Moines, Iowa 50305
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
505 Fifth Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309