On September 16th, 2021, our dad, grandpa, great grandpa passed away from natural causes.
Dad was born October 9th, 1927, in New Carlisle, Ohio to Guy and Emma Harshbarger. The 3rd of 4 sons and 3 younger sisters.
During the depression, Grandpa Guy moved the family to the west coast, then back to Michigan, and finally to Oregon where he settled down.
Dad loved the outdoors. So much so that when he was a freshman, the principal sent a letter home telling grandpa to "put this boy to work because he ain't going to amount to anything going to school, all he does is stare out the window!" 2 days later, dad had a job in a sawmill. He had to lie about his age because you had to be 16 to work.
Dad eventually became a sawyer and worked in the woods until 1945 when his draft number was coming up and he joined the Army Air Corps, the precursor to the Air Force we know today. After completing basic training and a bunch of specialty courses, dad applied to go to Alaska and was surprised when they granted his request!
He was stationed at Nome, working in the radio room intercepting coded messages from the Russians. His job was taking the coded messages to the decoding room and handing them through a slit in the door. In his off time, he and a buddy would go out exploring the area around Nome. Spending their liberty staying in old miners’ cabins left over from the gold rush days, eating stuff they shot or picked, because they couldn't afford to get home.
When he got discharged, he hopped on the first transport plane he could and flew to Seattle where he caught a train and headed south to Eugene, Oregon where the family lived. Dad spent his time working in the woods and hunting and fishing when he met mom (Jackie) in 1954.
They fell in love and were married in San Francisco on January 6th, 1955. They lived in Veneta, Oregon where they had their first son, Brent in 1957.
Early in 1959, they bought a 183-acre ranch in Victor, Montana and moved there on May 1St. Dad always said if he would have had $50,000, he could have bought half the Bitterroot valley, land was so cheap back then, but he said they only had just enough for the down payment on what they bought.
The house was an old log house from the late 1800's. It had been upgraded with electricity but no running water, just an 8' hand dug well. We finally dug in a water line from the well in 1969, the same year man landed on the moon! It was so nice to have running water, a bathtub, and an inside toilet! Outhouses are cold in the winter!
In 1961, daughter Brenda was born, and then in 1964 son Wyatt came along.
We lived there many years, raising cattle, making hay, building fence and all the other ranching stuff required. Even had some sheep for a while.
In 1976, they sold the ranch and leased a place on the east side of the valley. In 1977, dad called the ranching business quits and bought 10 acres up Kootenai creek by Stevensville, where he lived until the trailer burned in December of 2020.
During these years he went back to logging, falling trees all over western Montana and even in Idaho. One day he was logging some real steep ground with scattered timber, and it was hot, when his saw broke down. He grabbed all his stuff and headed the Y2 mile up to the road. The boss just happened to be up there when he got to the top and he told him "I quit! You don't pay enough for this crappy ground and I'm 67 and I don't need this crap!" The boss said "you lied to me. You said you were only 64!" Dad replied "So I lied! I quit!" The boss laughed and apologized (because he knew dad did more at 67 than the younger guys did) and they came to an agreement for better ground and more pay, so dad stayed working for him until he was 70 when he finally retired.
Dad cut and sold firewood (about 15 cords a year) until he was 85 years old to supplement his meager social security. The last time I cut a load of firewood with him, he was 91! I had to start his saw, but he bucked the logs!
Dad lost mom, his wife of almost 60 yrs., unexpectedly on New Year’s Eve 2015.
Dad outlived 3 brothers, Gilbert, Dewey, and Roger, and his sister Dolly.
He is survived by 2 sisters Darla (Jim) and Jeannie (Don), both in Oregon. Children Brent (Shelley), Missoula, Brenda (Darrell), Lolo and Wyatt (Linda), Chadwick, Missouri. 5 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Dad shared 2 profound things with me. The first I was 16 and he said: " Using a condom is like picking your nose with a glove on!" The second one was a couple weeks after mom died: "You don't know how much you're going to miss someone until they're gone."
Dad, you were so right on both counts!
WE LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU- your loving family