Verna Harshfield, the founder and president of an organization to help senior citizens pursue their creative talents, died Sunday at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center from complications following heart surgery and kidney failure. She was 78.
A funeral service will be held Friday at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, Cypress.
Harshfield founded the December Rose Assn., a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging seniors in writing, art, music and dance. The organization had chapters in Long Beach and Los Angeles and several other Southern California communities.
Harshfield had served as a nursing home administrator for the Retirement Housing Foundation, a Long Beach company that builds and maintains retirement homes.
Survivors include her husband, Clark, one of the founders of the retirement foundation. He retired as its executive director in 1987. Other survivors are a sister, Marian Wagner of Independence, Kan.; a daughter, Rachel Regalis; and a grandson, Luke Regalis, of Plymouth, Pa.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Stephen Harshfield Scholarship Fund at Los Angeles Harbor College in honor of the couple's son, who died in 1971. The fund benefits physically disabled students.