Eugene "Gene" Charles Harms, 73, son of Albert Henrick Harms, Sr., and Ruby P. (Rohning) Harms, was born June 1, 1930, at Cole Camp, Mo. Gene passed away Tuesday evening, Feb. 10, 2004, at his home in Schell City, with family members holding his hand.
In 1935, the Harms family moved to Schell City. Gene attended Schell City School. On Nov. 22, 1952, he married Bonnie Jean Amick in Kansas City, Mo. To this union two daughters were born, Karen and Kim.
Gene was in the U.S. Army and served his country in the Korean Conflict from September 1954 to September 1956. In the Army, he had his own welding shop, a sign above its door read "Harms Welding." Gene received the Good Conduct Medal.
When he returned from Korea to Kansas City, he went to work for General Motors at their Fairfax plant. He worked for them 21 years as a painter. During this time he and Bonnie also enjoyed farming on weekends at their farm near Schell City. They moved down to the farm full-time in 1971. They had a cow/calf and row crop operation for many years. Gene was one of the first farmers in the area to broadcast soybeans. Several local farmers came by to look at his fields near Harwood. At first Gene could not understand why there were so many tracks in the entrance to the field.
In the days Gene was farming, he was sometimes called "Mr. Green Jeans." Everyday Gene wore pine green uniform pants and a matching shirt to work in. He seemed to think it was appropriate for his work clothes to match the color of farm machinery he liked best. Once he even spray-painted a canvas hat John Deere green. It was a different style of hat; it looked similar to a hat a gangster would wear. Gene wore it daily to the field. We are pretty sure no other farmer had a hat like it. You never knew what he was going to paint green and yellow next.
In 1984, Gene and Bonnie opened "Double A Package Store" in the basement of their home. They also sold various odds and ends they collected at auctions in their store. When their youngest granddaughter, Kelsey, just a toddler, visited them, she would take it upon herself to announce loudly "customer" anytime she hear the driveway bell ring into the house. We all got a kick out of that. Sometimes Kelsey would spend a whole week at her grandparents farm. They retired from the store in 1995.
After retiring Gene and Bonnie continued to attend many auctions around the area, went fishing and spent time with family and friends.
Gene suffered a great loss in 1997, when his wife and partner of 45 years passed away. He was never quite able to adjust to that loss.
Gene then turned to his family and his coffee shop friends to fill his time and of course the Western Channel. He also still enjoyed keeping up on what other local farmers were doing. He would sometimes visit Sam Vantellman's fields to see how the harvest was going. He would drive by Steve Bell's new farm east of Walker every week or so, anxious to see what changes Steve had made since his last drive-by.
In September, 2002, Gene was blessed with his first grandson, Cameron Albert Parrish.
In October of 2003, Gene was very happy to attend the wedding of his granddaughter, Leslie. Later, on Dec. 6, 2003, he was honored to help walk his oldest granddaughter, Amanda, down the aisle on her wedding day.
We had spoke to dad/grandpa on several occasions about accepting Jesus as his Savior and about seeing Bonnie again in Heaven. We told him it was something he could count on. Dad knew how very much we loved him. Though we know God loved him much more. We hope he could see Jesus in us and our actions. God truly blessed us when he chose our dad and grandpa, a kind, caring, generous man, who also knew how to be quite a funny character.
Dad spent his last day here with his two daughters and two of his grandchildren, Amanda and Cameron (age 17 months). Someone had urged us not to go to work that day, Amanda came home from work early, so that we could all go over and be with him. Dad also visited by phone that day with his close friend Madelyn (owner of one coffee shop). She said they laughed and joked, and while they talked Gene eased her mind about how he was doing by telling her of an imaginary doctor appointment he had the next day. Madelyn had him call her whenever he was not coming out to the café so she knew he was okay. This is one of several nice things about living in a small town. People really care and look out for each other. As we look back on that day we can see what a detailed plan God had for it and that he was right there with us holding our hands as he always is.
Dad was never a complainer. When asked how he was feeling he would sometimes just say, I'm feeling a little slow today. He always did his best to keep up an illusion for everyone, to try and cover how bad he probably really felt. Looking back, we can see and we are hearing from others that he must have worked pretty hard at this. All so his family and friends wouldn't worry as much.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Bonnie; his parents, his brothers, Virgil, Joseph, Henry and Earl; and by two infant brothers, William Hale and Bobby Q. Also, his father-in-law, Raymond Amick.
Services were held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14, at Schell City Christian Church. Burial was at Green Lawn Cemetery, Schell City, Mo. under the direction of Lewis-Hoagland Funeral Home.