Cover photo for Tania Gay Harden's Obituary
Tania Gay Harden Profile Photo

Tania Gay Harden

October 15, 1967 — May 26, 2023

Tania Gay Harden

“Noble and great. Courageous and determined. Faithful and fearless...That is who you are, and that is who you have always been.” - Sheri Dew

Dr. Tania Gay Crohn Harden passed away surrounded by those she loved on May 26, 2023, at home in Pocatello, Idaho, after a girl’s night of massages, mani-pedis, laughter, and love concluding a fierce multi-year battle with cancer. She was 55 years old.

Tania was born on October 15th, 1967, the third child and only daughter of Duane and Ruth (Richardson) Crohn in Bloomington, Indiana. Her Indiana childhood was full of friends, family, and dancing. In middle school, her family moved to Yuma, Arizona, where she graduated from Kofa High School in 1986.  She met her future husband, Brian, when she was 16 years old. When she was 17, Brian baptized her as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and was a faithful follower of Jesus Christ the rest of her life.

After high school Tania attended Brigham Young University. On January 4, 1989, Brian and Tania were married and sealed for time and all eternity in the Mesa, Arizona Temple. The greatest joy of her life was being a mom. Brenna Avalee was born October 30, 1990, Joshua Duane joined the family on May 8, 1995, Jacob Lawrence and Jared Maxwell arrived December 31, 2002, and then Seth John Marcus completed the family on February 1, 2006. In addition to being a wonderful mom to her own children, Tania and Brian were, for a time, foster parents for troubled teenage girls.

Tania’s intellect combined with determination and resilience have fueled her entire life. A consummate planner and master organizer, in addition to raising her children, she worked full-time and went to school full-time. Through these pursuits, the Hardens lived in Utah, Nevada, Texas, North Carolina, and eight years ago, moved to Idaho.

Tania received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Southern Utah University, her Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of North Texas, and then her Doctorate of Education in Instructional Design Technology from Idaho State University.

Not only did Tania have a busy mind, but she also had busy hands. At three years old, she taught herself how to read, and that was the start of a life dedicated to the gathering of knowledge. Her spare time was never idle, so she taught herself how to crochet and made dozens of baby blankets and afghans that she gave as a service to others. At fifty years old, Tania pursued a life-long dream to learn the cello and took lessons and performed in recitals. She was also a voracious reader and especially loved murder mysteries. Tania also loved collecting ducks, Grogu from The Mandalorian, Ice Cold Coke, French dip sandwiches, classical music, traveling, sapphires, and serving in many capacities in the church.

Four years ago, Tania was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, cancer of the soft tissues of the abdomen. After surgery to remove the tumor, she was cancer-free for 18 months, when it came back with a vengeance, having spread to her liver and lung. For the last three years, Tania has gone through countless and various procedures while working as a Digital and Instructional Librarian at Idaho State University, working on her doctorate, and being an amazing wife, mom, and friend.

In addition to cancer, in 2021, Tania was struck with COVID and pneumonia, and was in the hospital and on a respirator for two weeks. The doctors did not give much hope that Tania would survive, but in her fierce, determined way, Tania made it through. Believing in Tania and not wanting her doctorate to be postponed, her colleagues at ISU rallied and collected the data needed for her dissertation research study. After beating the odds, Tania returned home in a wheelchair, continued working from home, and picked up with her dissertation.

Since her doctoral graduation a year ago, Tania continued to amaze as treatment after treatment failed, her lung collapsed, and her liver stopped functioning while working full time, which she continued until the week before her death. Wanting to keep learning, her doctorate wasn’t enough. She continued taking college classes and completed her last project four weeks ago.

Tania was simply a fighter, a warrior, a rockstar, and an inspiration.

Through it all, her greatest treasures were her husband, her children, her two- year-old grandson, Liam James, “The Boy,” and her furbabies.

Tania was preceded in death by her parents and father-in-law. She is survived by her husband, Brian; her children Brenna, Josh and Hailey (Bertoldo) and Liam, Jacob, Jared, and Seth; her beloved dog, Flynn Doodle (Chicken) and her cats, Roger and Nike, and her grandcat, Ozzy; her brothers Michael Shields and Brian Crohn; her mother-in-law Judy Harden, as well as her best friend of 37 years, Lisa Taylor, and her extra brother, Tim Nelson.

A celebration of life will be held Thursday, June 1st at 6 pm in the cultural hall of the LDS church building in front of the Pocatello Temple, 2140 Satterfield Drive.
Casual attire, please.

In lieu of flowers, please donate books to your local library in Tania’s name. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to the countless humans who have offered prayers and support to our family, especially to Tania’s special nurses Shayla and Amanda, the people at Hospice and Home Health, and her amazing coworkers at Idaho State.

“This isn’t goodbye
I will see you again.
It feels like it might be
But it isn’t the end, not the end.
You’ll be right here in my heart
Every day of my life
This isn’t goodbye
This isn’t goodbye” - Hilary Weeks
Fly free, Tania!

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Past Services

Celebration of Life

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Starts at 6:00 pm (Mountain time)

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