Carmen Theresa Hackworth, who truly lived every minute of her 56 years, died Sunday, April 14, 2019, at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center. Her gift of life as an organ donor has helped to save the lives of at least four individuals. A celebration of Carmen’s life will begin at 3 p.m. Monday, April 22 at the Wallace Family Funeral Home and Crematory. The family will greet friends from 2 p.m.until the time of service and again after the service at the Cellar Peanut Pub. Much like Carmen’s bright personality, the family is requesting bright, cheerful attire for the services. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Carmen’s family may be left at the funeral home (checks made payable to Carley Anderson).
Carmen, the daughter of Frank and Janet (Parrish) Harger, was born Oct. 2, 1962 in Newton. She grew up in Newton and graduated from Newton High School in 1981. For many years, Carmen was the group home leader and worked in the corporate office at Progress Industries. Following that, she worked in the factory and office at the Maytag Company. When Maytag began closing, Carmen decided to go back to school and received her LPN from Marshalltown Community College in December of 2007. The following year she began working at the Iowa Veteran’s Home in Marshalltown. Carmen had a heart for serving others and that shone through in many aspects of her life but none more so than when a patient at the Veteran’s Home was in their final hours and Carmen would volunteer to sit with them and their families laughing, crying and telling stories.
Carmen, with her bright smile and contagious laugh, never met a stranger. If you knew her for five minutes or for a lifetime she had a knack for making you feel included and special. For those that knew her it would not be a stretch to find out that she was her family’s holiday party coordinator or the coordinator for any and all social gathering opportunities that may arise. At Christmas time she always knew exactly what personal gifts to give to all her family and friends … Disney and cat socks for her daughter, Carley, and snacks for her son, Jace. Carmen was also a collector of “things” and some of her collections were unique such as rocks, dice and hand statues. She always kept an eye out for her children’s collections too as she visited antique stores and flea markets. She would be on the lookout for globes for Carley and anything VW for Jace. She would never turn down a glass of red wine or a bottle (not a can) of Bud Light. One of her favorite phrases after working in the yard would simply be “Beer Me!” Carmen enjoyed life to the fullest, some of her favorite hobbies included traveling, kayaking, fishing, mushroom hunting, singing karaoke and looking for asparagus. She also loved critters; deer, cats, birds, squirrels and they loved her too. Many times she would volunteer to foster animals or if an animal would wander onto her property and she would feed it and care for it. Carmen loved her children and one of her greatest qualities was her ability to listen to them, truly listen, and always be engaged and interested in their hobbies and past times. With her red hair and quick wit, Carmen could light up a room and stories from her adventures will continue to live on with her family and friends forever.
Carmen will continue to be loved and remembered by her children, Carley (Kyle) Anderson of Tucson, Ariz., and Jace Hackworth of Newton; parents, Janet and Frank Harger of Newton; her brother, Chris West of Newton; step-sister, Regina (Randy) Frahm; her nieces and nephews, Patrece (Micah) Cope, Joe Revell, Megan (Kyle) Potter and Amanda West; her many great-nieces and great-nephews; cats, October and Deeners; and her many, many friends. She was preceded in death by her father, Ronald West; paternal grandparents, Wilda (Frank) Harger; maternal grandparents, Joe (Pauline) Parrish; sister, Pauline Cannon; and a niece, Holly Revell.