Robert (Bob) Harsh, age 87, of Belle Plaine, passed away peacefully on January 5, 2021, surrounded by his loving family. A hero to all of them, it is fitting that his final words were, I gave it my all! He will be missed more than words can say.
Because of the ongoing COVID pandemic, there was private memorial service on Tuesday, January 12 at the First Presbyterian Church in Belle Plaine. A celebration of life will be planned when times are better.
Bob was born in Glenwood City, WI on June 12, 1933 to Russell and Margaret (Lagerstrom) Harsh. He moved to Belle Plaine with his family in his youth and graduated from Belle Plaine High School in 1951. He started working for Chicago & Northwestern Railroad during high school and continued after graduation in what would ultimately culminate in 45 years of service. In 1952, he met the love of his life, Mary Heiland of Hopkins, at a dance at the Valley Ballroom in Chaska. Bob liked to tell his grandkids that their courtship was put on hold because he was personally invited to Korea by President Eisenhower in 1953. In truth, Bob was drafted into the Army where he served for two years. In later life, he visited the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. and marveled at its hauntingly accurate depiction of his experience.
When he was discharged, Bob rang Mary from Seattle and said, Well Toots, get your glad rags on because Im coming home and were going out! Bob and Mary were married on October 26, 1957 and shared their lives together for 56 years. Bob loved hunting, fishing and tending to his garden. Not one to fully embrace retirement, he took up house painting and made it a family affair when he employed his grandsons. There was not a sport the man didnt like to watch. He was deeply faithful and devoted to his beloved First Presbyterian Church in Belle Plaine. Bob was larger than life. There was not a stranger he didnt know or a sweet he didnt like. He had the best laugh, his facial expressions were worth a thousand words and he had his own saying for everyone and everything in life.
Bob is survived by his four daughters: Connie (Peter) Glisczinski of Belle Plaine, Jane (Gene) Bohlman of Jordan, Kristie (Jim) Rucks of Belle Plaine; Heidi (Jason) Hague of Hollywood, Florida, nine grandchildren: Jonathan, Angela, Andrea, Emily, Scott, Erica, Ryan, Felica and Jimmy; 13 great-grandchildren; sister Eileen and brother Brad; and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife Mary, his parents, brother Jim and sister Peggy.