Harriet May Chittenden, age 91, died in Turlock, California, on January 28, 2014. The third daughter of Virgil and Florence Chittenden, she was born on May 21, 1922, in Bakersfield, California. The family moved to Oakdale when Harriet was eight, and she later graduated from Escalon High School and Modesto Junior College. Starting in her teen years, Harriet had a commitment to faith in Christ; her lifelong participation in Christian service and leadership began at the Escalon Assembly of God.
Harriet continued her education in Springfield, Missouri, graduating from Central Bible Institute, and spent the following years assisting newly established churches in Ohio, Kentucky, and several California towns. In 1960 she fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a teacher by earning her credential at Sacramento State College, following in the footsteps of her paternal grandmother, a teacher in Glennville, California, and her namesake, Harriet Buss, a teacher in Bakersfield.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, Harriet combined her teaching skills and her interest in travel by teaching overseas in England, Germany, and Turkey, and then in Wayne, New Jersey. During her vacations she enjoyed traveling to such places as Israel, France, and Italy. Harriet later returned to California and made her home in Modesto, where she continued her service to others by teaching in schools and her church and by leading Bible studies in several retirement centers. During the 1990s, Harriet served two terms as the tenant commissioner on the Board of the Housing Authority of Stanislaus County.
Harriet is survived by her sister, Edith Chittenden Carter of Santa Cruz, nine nieces and nephews, 21 grand nieces and nephews, and 25 great-grand nieces and nephews. She shared in many visits and celebrations with her extended family and has been an inspiration to those around her.
A Celebration of Harriet’s life will be held on Saturday, March 15, 2014, 11:30 am at the Trinity Church Assembly of God, 1900 California Street, Escalon, California, with a reception immediately following.