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Dana Harsh, 94

December 11, 2013

Dana Calloway Harsh, 94, passed away peacefully Dec. 2, 2013, at Pioneer Memorial Rest Home in Mullen, which had been his home for the past five years. He was born the second of 12 children May 7, 1919, to Lester and Lucy (Fogelsong) Harsh. The family lived in Platte Center, where Dana attended school. He was an outstanding athlete and excelled in basketball and baseball. Fresh out of high school he was chosen to play on the Junior Legion Team in Omaha for the Omaha Alamito Team. While serving in the Civilian Conser-vation Corps at the Nebr-aska National Forest in Halsey, he met Almerna Rodocker. They were married June 22, 1941. Three daughters were born to this union: Sherrilyn Dee, Dana Sue and Jeanne Lynn. Sue lost her life in a small plane crash in 1959.
Dana and Mern moved to Dunning where they operated the IGA store until Dana joined the Army in 1942. He was sent to Europe and served in the 28th Infantry Division in World War II. Mern received word that Dana had been wounded on the day that Sue was born in 1944. He spent 7 months in a hospital in England and then was sent to a hospital in Illinois. In 1945, he was discharged and also was awarded a purple heart.
Once all reunited, they moved the family to Purdum, where they operated Harsh Mercantile for 35 years until Dana's retirement in 1980. Dana was an astute businessman and earned several salesman awards and trips from Nutrena Feeds. He was always available to lend a hand to anyone in need and got the call when there was any kind of emergency.
He and Mern even earned the Aksarben Good Neighbor Award. He also committed much time and support to the Purdum United Church of Christ and Purdum Cemetery.
Hunting and fishing were always important activities to Dana, especially since it usually included family, friends or both. Many such trips were enjoyed and even several to Canada for fishing. These outings often involved card playing which was an added bonus for him.
After Dana's retirement, he and Mern pursued their love of travel and also of rock collecting. They did rock hunting in many different places and Dana learned to cut, polish and set stones. He and Mern even started a little business called "Sticks and Stones" and attended rock shows. Later, Dana would give presentations on his collection, particularly to school kids. He always had a special love for children that did not wane throughout his life.
Dana and Mern spent winters in Arizona until Mern passed away in 1998. There they made many new friends and enjoyed many activities. They both liked gambling and playing those slot machines. Dana was quite fond of 3-card poker.
Dana truly treasured his family and friends and always put them first. He always exemplified compassion, consideration, integrity and loyalty. He had a wonderful sense of humor and quick wit, even in his later years when he was suffering from Alzheimer's. His large, warm smile and that twinkle in his eye will be missed.
Dana is preceded in death by his parents; wife, Almerna; daughter, Dana Sue; sons-in-law, Gene Moody and Bob Mulligan; six brothers, Leslie, Jr., Duane (Pete), Carroll, Clifford, Melvin (Zack) and Kenneth (Skip); and three sisters, Shirley Hecht, Phyllis Haddeman and Margie Chia.
Dana is survived by daughters, Sherry Mulligan and Jeanne Rosenberger and husband Arden; grandchildren: Pam Moody and husband Russ DeNaeyer, Mike Moody and wife Cheryl, Michelle Milleson and husband Ryan, and Chad Conard; great-grandchildren: Hollie and Jack Moody, Chantelle, Ty and Shaylee Milleson, Derrik Conard, Jeff and Jared Pflaster and Dan DeNaeyer; great-great grandchildren: Rylyn Moody, Alexis Pflaster, Brooklynn, Kloey, Jordyn and Makenzy DeNaeyer; sisters, Betty Koenig and Bernie Weidner, and sisters-in-law, Lorraine Harsh and Kathy Pollard.
Services were Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, at the Purdum United Church of Christ with private interment. Memorials may be made to Purdum Cemetery or Pioneer Memorial Rest Home.

Published in Custer County Chief, Dec. 12, 2013

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