William James Harper, 84, of Nevada, the son of Bernard Joseph and Ruth Mae (Laughlin) Harper was born Jan. 29, 1928, in Massillon, Ohio, and passed from this life Monday, July 30, 2012, at Saint Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.
Bill attended Jackson High School in Massillon, and then joined the United States Navy where he served our country from 1945 to 1953. It was while in the military that Bill was introduced to Barbara Dean Wilson. They were united in marriage on Jan. 19, 1951, in Massillon and to their union four children were born. They settled for a time in Florida while Bill finished his military commitment.
After being honorably discharged, for employment opportunities, the family relocated to Missouri, back to Florida, a brief time in Arkansas, and then finally resettled back in the Kansas City, Mo., area where he was employed by the Ford Claycomo Plant from the mid-1960s until his retirement in the early 1980s. It had always been a dream of Bill's to live on a farm, so soon after retirement he and Barbara bought 40 acres in Wheatland, Mo., where they raised cattle, gardened, and simply enjoyed life away from the city. In 1998, they decided to move to Nevada, Mo., to be closer to their daughter. Bill always enjoyed taking care of his yard and garden and preferred to spend as much time outside as possible. Bill's religious affiliation was Methodist/Episcopalian. He was a longtime member of the Ivanhoe Masonic Lodge No. 446 in Kansas City, Mo., and the American Legion Post in Nevada. He was a proud American and a proud United States Navy Veteran who always respected the flag of the United States of America and flew it proudly.
Survivors include his four children, daughter, Sue Harper of Schell City, Mo.; sons, Mike Harper and his wife, Jan, of Independence, Mo., Pat Harper of Nevada, and Tim Harper and his wife, Rhonda, of Canton, Ga.; two brothers, Stanley Harper of Smyrna Beach, Fla., and Richard Harper of Murfreesboro, N.C.; one sister, Linda Ruth Godfrey of Canton, Ga.; 10 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends. Bill was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Bernard; and his beloved wife, Barbara, who passed away April 8, 2006.
Graveside services with military honors and interment for William James Harper were held at 10 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 2, at the Green Mound Cemetery in Harwood, Mo. Pallbearers were Mike Harper, Pat Harper, Tim Harper, W.J. Harper, R.J. Harper, and Matthew Harper. Memorials are suggested to Vernon County Cancer Relief.
Arrangements for Mr. Harper were entrusted to the Lewis-Hoagland Funeral Home in Schell City.