Warren Day Hargus

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Warren Day Hargus of Marietta, Ga., formerly of Nevada, passed away peacefully at home on Sept. 13, 2011. A memorial service will be held at the Willow Springs Funeral Home Chapel today, at 2 p.m. Warren will be laid to rest at Willow Springs City Cemetery. A memorial service will be held in Nevada at the Home Economics Building at the Fairgrounds on Sept. 21, at 2 p.m., for friends and family to share their memories of Warren and celebrate his life.

Warren was born on April 2, 1924, the youngest son of Wesley and Ruth Hargus of Marshfield Mo. Warren was the first member of his family to go to college and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor's degree in agriculture. Warren voluntarily served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Warren became a GI teacher upon return to civilian life, stationed in Bakersfield, Mo. While GI teaching, he met his wife of 58 years, Wilma Hedrick Hargus of Willow Springs, Mo.

Warren returned to MU to attain a master's degree in community development and upon graduation, began his lifelong career as a University of Missouri extension agent, first in Ste. Genevieve County, and later in Vernon County, Mo. While in Ste. Genevieve County, he identified and was instrumental in establishing Hawn State Park.

Warren began working with community groups in Vernon County in 1969 and worked tirelessly with groups in a 10-county area until his retirement in 1989. Warren was instrumental in establishing the Southwest Missouri Nut Growers Association, McGennis Youth Center, and the Vernon County Farmer's Market. He also helped Appleton City by designing a gazebo for its town square and helping the town obtain funding so it could be built. Warren was well known throughout southwest Missouri for his development efforts. Warren was an active member of Rotary Club in Nevada and was a member of the Freemasons.

Warren and Wilma have two daughters, Karen Hargus Biehle and Susan Hargus Mortimer, both of Marietta, Ga. Both daughters graduated from Nevada High School and were active in 4-H. No matter what activities or projects his daughters pursued, Warren was there volunteering, leading, and inspiring the kids with whom he worked. He was honest to a fault and generous with his time, talents and knowledge. When someone needed help, he was always there. Warren was a huge do-it-yourselfer, and could build or fix almost everything. Since he didn't have a son, Susan became his boy and worked along side him for projects. Because he shared his knowledge, Susan is now the family "handyman" and keeper of his tips and tricks.

Warren stressed the importance of education and read countless bedtime stories and helped with nightly homework with children and grandchildren. He was very proud of Karen's career as a pharmacist and was thrilled when she went back to school and earned a doctor of pharmacy degree in 2008. He was also proud that Susan had become a lawyer. After she graduated with her ESBA from Mizzou, Warren immediately began asking when she was going to go back to school for a higher degree. It was in no small part due to his persistence that Susan returned to school to get her law degree from Georgia State University.

Warren and Wilma also have three grandchildren, Lauren (25) and Heather (21) Biehle had a close relationship with their granddad and had faith that Granddad could make anything. Warren proudly attended their graduations from high school and Lauren's graduation with her doctor of pharmacy degree in 2010. His grandson Jimmy was born in 2005 and was the light of his life. Before Jimmy was born, Warren and Wilma moved to Georgia to be near their children and grandchildren. Warren had to see Jimmy every day and Jimmy loved to sit with his granddad and look at books together or play games. The two were very close and Jimmy became Warren's reason to get up every day. In 2010, Warren's health deteriorated and he and Wilma moved in with Susan's family. Jimmy was devoted to his granddad -- making sure he had drinks and food and always had a cover for his lap when cold.

Warren was a two-time cancer survivor, who had been in remission since 2003. While in treatment for liver cancer in 2002, Warren suffered a stroke that resulted in speech difficulties, but it never altered his strong will to live or love for life. On his last day, he woke up, walked in to sit in his favorite chair, had breakfast and coffee with Wilma and visited with Susan. He took a nap and quietly suffered a stroke from which he never regained consciousness. His peaceful death was God's reward for a life well-lived.

Survivors include his wife Wilma of Marietta, Ga.; daughters, Karen Biehie and her husband, Scott, of Marietta and Susan Mortimer and her husband, Jim, of Marietta; grandchildren, Lauren Biehle of Houston, Texas, Heather Biehle of Athens, Ga., and Jimmy Mortimer of Marietta, Ga.; sisters, Reba Hargus and EvaLee Letterman of Marshfield, Mo.; and, a host of family and friends in Missouri and Georgia.

Contributions may be made in Warren's name to the American Cancer Society or to the American Heart Association. It is the research of these fine groups that brought about the medical advances that enabled Warren to stay with his family and friends for more than 15 years since his first health challenge, a four-way heart bypass in 1996. Contributions can be sent to American Cancer Society at P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123, and to the American Heart Association at P.O. Box 840692, Dallas, TX 75284.