Richard Milton Harr, age 89, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Oct. 02, 2013 at Grandville Manor in Parsons. He was born on April 14, 1924, in Canaan Valley, where he resided all his life. He was the youngest of eight, born to Merrick and Idella Harr, and was the last surviving member of the family.
He was married to Mary Jocelyn Raines who preceded him in death in 2003. They were married 60 years and are survived by four children: Barbara (James) Alford of Leadmine; Lloyd Carl (Maria) of Canaan Valley; Phyllis Garcia, Waldorf, Md.; and James (Marilyn) of Jackson, Ohio. Also surviving are seven grandchildren: James Alford, Jr., Mark Alford, Jason Garcia, Nathan Garcia, Wesley Garcia, Sarah Harr and Osman Harr; and four great-grandchildren: Richard Alford, Bobbi Garcia, Thomas Bierstensky and Mark Randall Alford. He was preceded in death by eight brothers and sisters; Sylvester, Lloyd Hansford, James, Curtis, Joseph, Earl, Edith Adams and Opal Harris.
Richard was a WWII veteran, having served in the Army in North Africa and Europe. He returned from the war in 1945 and began his career as a farmer. He and his brother Joseph owned the Harr Brothers farm in Canaan where they raised beef cattle and a small dairy herd. They also sold cauliflower for several years. “Dick” and “Josephine” as he and his wife were known were the proud recipients of the Farming for Better Living Award one year. This award reflected the hard work put in by the whole family as they brought the farm up to modern standards. After 22 years on the farm, it was lost to the state of West Virginia in 1966 and now lies fallow as part of the Canaan Valley State Park.
Dick built a home on Cortland Road where he remained until he moved to Granville Manor in 2012. He made his living as a school bus driver and part-time carpenter. While working for the Board of Education, he became president of the local School Service Personnel Association. Dick made many trips to Charleston and was directly responsible for legislation that positively effects wage and pension benefits for school service employees to this day. Dick was honored to receive the Tucker County Chamber of Commerce “Employee of the Year” award which recognized his dedicated service to both his job as bus driver and civic duty on the School Service Personnel board.
Dick served on the Parks and Recreation Board for several years and worked hard with others to restore Camp Kidd into what it is today – a valuable recreational venue including a golf course.
While the family was young, Dick and Josephine and all the kids committed their lives to Jesus Christ and became members of the Beuna Chapel in Canaan. Dick is still a member there today and served as Sunday School Superintendent and teacher for more than 40 years. He is also remembered for his piano playing and beautiful singing voice which he used to praise the Lord.
Dick has been a member of Davis Lodge IOOF 103 for 60 years. For nineteen years, he was the Lodge’s District Deputy Grand Master. He was affectionately known as “Mr. Odd Fellow” by his Lodge brothers. He was also a member of Independent Order of Rebekahs and the VFW.
The family received friends at Hinkle Funeral Home on Friday, October 4 from 4 to 8 p.m.
The funeral was conducted at Buena Chapel in Canaan on Saturday, October 5 at noon. The Rev. Neal Parsons officiated. Dick’s son, Jimmy, who is now pastor of the Jackson Mennonite Church in Ohio, offered a celebration of his dad’s life in both eulogy and song. Burial took place at the Mt. Hebron Cemetery off Cortland Road in Canaan.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Mt. Hebron Cemetery Fund, c/o Dave Lesher, P.O. Box 778, Davis, WV 26260.