Don Lavern Harshbarger, 92, of Humboldt, passed away Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at Colonial Acres Nursing Home. He was born on April 8, 1923 in rural Richardson County near Humboldt to Jesse Lee and Ethel Belle (Williams) Harshbarger.
Don lived in the Humboldt area his entire life and attended Oak Grove school near his home, and then graduated from Bratton Union High School, the first consolidated school in Nebraska, in 1941. He was a standout athlete and was a member of the 1938 Bulldog State Champion basketball team, as well as two more state tournament basketball teams. In the fall of 1940, when Bratton Union won their class’s football championship, Don was named to the Nebraska Six-Man All-State Football Team as a center. In addition to basketball and football, he played baseball and participated in track and field.
On March 22, 1945, Don married Nina Louise Peterson at the Methodist Church in Humboldt. They lived on a farm north of Humboldt before eventually moving to the Harshbarger family farm northeast of Humboldt in 1965. A life-long farmer with a livestock and grain operation, Don also hauled livestock and grain and did so even after retiring from farming in 1987. In his early farming and livestock years, Don and his father raised and showed Champion Purebred Shorthorns. Also, he sold Archer Oil for more than 50 years in Richardson and Nemaha County.
Don was always very active in a number of organizations. He was a member of the Odd Fellows for over 50 years, where he served as Noble Grand and then served as secretary/treasurer for many years. Don was a long-time member of the Stella Saddle Club and served the group as president. He enjoyed participating in the club’s drill team. Don also served several years as a member of the Bratton Union School Board and was a member when the school consolidated to form Southeast Nebraska Consolidated School.
In the 1980’s, Don and his sister Zelma joined the United Methodist Church of Humboldt, where he later served as an usher for many years. Don was also a long-time board member of the Mound (Prospect) Cemetery, where he spent countless hours to make sure the cemetery looked good. Finally, for several years while he was capable, he assisted with Humboldt’s Meals on Wheels.
Don is survived by his son, Ted L. Harshbarger, of Humboldt; daughter, Rhea Spears, of Chandler, AZ; grandsons, Taylor and Logan Spears, Tempe, AZ; granddaughter, Ashton Spears, of Chandler; special friend, Margery Clifton, of Pawnee City; sister-in-law, Mildred Peterson, Pawnee City; former son-in-law, Rick Spears, Tempe; numerous nieces and nephews and many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Gladys Taylor and Zelma Standerford; and brothers, Joseph, who died in infancy, and Forrest.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 30, 2015, at the United Methodist Church in Humboldt, with Pastor Dean Joy officiating. A register book will be available to sign from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, May 29 at The Wherry Mortuary in Humboldt. Inurnment will be at Mound (Prospect) Cemetery, east of Humboldt. Memorial contributions to the Humboldt United Methodist Church, Mound (Prospect) Cemetery, or the Odd Fellows Lodge #34.
Condolences can be left at www.wherrymortuary.com