Cover photo for Judith Ann Rankin Harden Hawley's Obituary
Judith Ann Rankin Harden Hawley Profile Photo
1941 Judith Ann Hawley 2023

Judith Ann Rankin Harden Hawley

April 2, 1941 — August 14, 2023



Judith Ann Rankin Harden Hawley


Judith Ann (Rankin) Hawley of Independence, Missouri, passed away at Saint Luke’s Hospice House on August 14, 2023.  She was born on April 2, 1941, to Paul W. And Elizabeth May (Allin) Rankin. She was the third child born to that union. She grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and attended Chelsea Grade School, Northwest Junior High, and one year at Washington High School before completing her high school education at the Kansas State School for the Blind. 


While in sixth grade, Judith went from normal sight to legally blind with Stargardt Macular Degeneration. Often diagnosed in childhood, Stargardt disease is a genetic eye disorder causing retinal degeneration and vision loss.  This condition slowly caused Judith’s vision to decrease over the years until she became totally blind.


Judith received a two-year scholarship to attend Kansas City Kansas Junior College. While there, she also worked for five radiologists in the Brotherhood building, developing x-rays in the darkroom by hand.  Those earnings allowed her to attend Wichita University to complete her education. She graduated in1964, with a double degree in Elementary Education and Speech Pathology. 


Judith was a speech pathologist with the Jefferson County, Kansas schools.  She helped start the Special Education Department of Jefferson County which is now Jefferson-Atchison counties and helped establish the Health Department of Jefferson County in 1968. There Judith trained the new school nurses to give the audiometric (hearing) testing she had previously done in the schools. 


Judith married Max Daryl Harden on January 26, 1963.  In August of 1969, they adopted a son, Max Daryl when he was a baby.  Judith’s husband Max died in September of 1977 at the age of 43 due to diabetic complications. 


In 1976, Judith was honored by the Pilot Women’s Clubs of Kansas and Missouri as “Handicapped Woman of the Year for Kansas and Missouri.” She was President of the Jefferson County Teachers Association and was on an NEA board with teachers who served 10 counties. She was a member of Alpha Delta Kappa (ADK), an international honorary organization for women educators. She lobbied for education in the Kansas State House of Representatives in Topeka. 


Judith later taught at Sionita School in Bates City, Missouri. There she taught a class of first, second, and third gradestudents. 


In April of 1978 she met Harold Norman Hawley of Lamoni, Iowa at the RLDS World Conference in Independence. They were married in August of that year. Harold adopted Max, who became Max Daryl Hawley. In November of 1979, the three of them traveled to Israel to live for a year and a half on the Kibbutz Mashabei-Sade in the Negev Desert. There Judith worked in a ball valve factory, ironed in the children’s laundry,and taught English to children and adults in the kibbutz.


In 1988 Harold and Judith moved to Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico to work among the Zapotec Indians. Judith taught English to adults and children and Sunday School to children.  


In 2002, Harold and Judith, with her guide dog Madera, moved to Australia for a year where they ministered among the Restoration Saints. They cherished their time among the saints there.


Judith was a member of the Eastview Lions Club, the Missouri Council for the Blind, and served on the Wolfner Library Advisory Board.  She worked as a low-vision consultant for Discover Vision and helped set up a low-vision store in Independence where she was a low-vision consultant. She was an active member of the Hill Cumorah Restoration Church of Jesus Christ. 


In February of 2001, Judith trained with her first guide, Madera, at The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey.  She trained with and received a total of five guide dogs from The Seeing Eye, each giving her freedom and independence.  Judith enjoyed educating people on blindness and Seeing Eye dogs.  She gave many programs on those topics in the Mid-Continent Public Libraries, schools, and civic organizations.  


In 2022, Judith published a book of her life’s testimonies and experiences which is entitled “Testimonies of Faith:  To God Be the Glory, Great Things He Hath Done.”  


Judith was preceded in death by her parents, her stepmother Delphia Rankin, her brothers Bob and Bill Rankin, her sister Donna Buck, a brother Johnny Poyser, and her husbands, Max Harden, and Harold Hawley. She is survived by her son Max (Jodi) Hawley of Independence, her granddaughters Corissa (Rudy) Leutzinger of Grain Valley and Savannah (Jesiah) Hawley-Bates of Kansas City, Missouri, her sisters Mary Stovin of Kaiser, Oregon, Peggy Nikkila of Astoria, Oregon, Pat Nikkila of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, brother  Richard (Dee) Nikkila of Battle Grounds, Washington, her step daughter-in-law Denise Hawley of Osceola, Iowa, stepdaughter Judy (Dan) Schneider of Reedsport, Oregon, stepsons Alma and Jimmy Hawley of Iowa, a brother-in-law Ed Buck of Holton, Kansas, five step-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. 


The family wishes to thank the caring staff and volunteers of Saint Luke’s Hospice for their loving care in Judith’s last days. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Saint Luke’s Hospice House, 3516 Summit St., Kansas City, MO 64111 or Saint Luke’s Foundation, 901 E. 104th St. #1005, Kansas City MO 64131.  Online gifts can be made at


Judith’s memorial service will be held at on August 27, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. at Living Hope Restoration Branch of Jesus Christ, 2425 ½ S. Crysler Ave., Independence, Missouri 64052. 


Judith would like all of you to rejoice with her, for upon her death you can be sure she has received her “sight” from the Lord Jesus Christ and now sees with new eyes. She would also like to thank all who blessed her life with their love, help, and friendships. Though she has left this earthly plane, none of you and your kindnesses to her will ever be forgotten. 


She would want you all to KNOW, Jesus is Coming back SOON! Praise God! 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Judith Ann Rankin Harden Hawley, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

Living Hope Restoration Branch of Jesus Christ

2425 ½ S. Crysler Ave., Independence, MO 64052

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