Services set for Mark Harken, SM East graduate killed in July 5 car wreck

Mark Harken
Mark Harken

Services for Mark Harken have been set for 11 a.m. Saturday, July 12, at Community Christian Church, 4601 Main Street, Kansas City, Mo.

Harken and friend Clay Miller both died in a rural Missouri car accident Saturday that injured four of their friends, all northeast Johnson County natives.

Sophia Steckelberg, a high school friend of many of the victims of the crash, said the group was “closer than brothers,” and that they’d been a vital support group for her as she transitioned from Kansas City Christian to SM East her freshman year.

“There were times I was having a hard time, and they were the ones who gave me the good side of things and showed me why I should be optimistic,” she said.

When she graduated from high school in 2012, she and Mark kept in close touch, and she credits him with making the move to college comfortable. She remembers receiving a text from Mark when he was out on his first date with his girlfriend, Jennifer Noble.

“He kept asking me, ‘What should I say?’” Steckelberg recalls. “I told him, just relax, be yourself.”

Steckelberg visited Lukas Fleming, one of the boys injured in the crash and the son of Fairway police chief Mike Fleming, in the hospital, and said he was expected to be able to be released midweek.

Harken was a lifelong Boy Scout who earned Eagle designation as a member of Troop 91 in Prairie Village. He was a talented engineering student who led SM East’s robotics team his senior year. He also lettered in cross country as a SM East senior.

Harken is survived by his parents, Sarah Higgins of Prairie Village and Bruce and Amy Harken of Mattapoisett, Mass., as well as his brother and sister, Erik and Claire of Prairie Village. He is also survived by four grandparents Kathy and Tony Giordano of Overland Park, and Mary and Larry Gruenhagen of Greenville, S.C.