Feb. 2, 1917 - Oct. 14, 2011
HAIGLER, Nebraska - Don Everett Harford was born on Feb. 2, 1917 in the house that his parents, Harry and Margaret Harford homesteaded in 1907. Don continued to live in that home until the end of his life on Oct. 14, 2011.
When Don was 14 and his brother Ray was 12 years old, their father passed away leaving the responsibilities of the ranch to them and their mother. Life wasn't easy during that time with the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, but they would not give up on the land that they loved. Throughout the years Don and Ray were among the Dundy County leaders in soil conservation and range management. They were also among the first ranchers to plant shelter belts for weather protection for the cattle.
On March 27, 1932, Don joined the Haigler United Methodist Church where the church and its activities were a large part of his life.
On Sept. 1, 1939, Don married his high school sweetheart, Virginia Clegg, in a simple ceremony at the home of her parents, Lee and Florence Clegg, in Haigler. That date was also the 22nd anniversary of her parents. Don and Virginia were married by the Rev. John Stayton in the presence of their immediate family.
The newlyweds made their home north of Haigler in the Sandhills where Don had grown up. To this union two children were born, Karen and Gail. Many memories came from their marriage that spanned more than 69 years.
In the early years of their marriage, Don and Virginia enjoyed square dancing and were involved in many church and community activities. Don was a member of many organizations on the local, county, district, and state level. He was very active in and a great supporter of 4-H, serving as a Dundy County Fair board member and project leader. Dundy County also benefited from Don's service on the hospital board, Farm Bureau and the Hester Foundation board.
Don loved music and often sang for funerals and community events in a quartet. He also played the guitar and other instruments and enjoyed singing with family around the piano, which Virginia often played.
Don had his private pilot license and had a passion for flying airplanes, which he shared with his son Gail. Don flew as often as he could until he was 89 years old.
In the later years of their marriage, Don and Virginia enjoyed traveling to different places in the United States and abroad. They traveled the Alaska Highway, where they were the "pickup and supply team" with their Suburban when they traveled with a local motorcycle group. They also traveled to the Holy Land, the Passion Play in Germany, and many other places of interest in the states.
Virginia preceded her husband in death in March of 2009. Don is also preceded in death by his son Gail, who passed away the same year. Gail went into the ranching business and worked daily with his father for decades. He also is preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Margaret Harford, his brother Ray, brothers-in-law Stanley Clegg, Neal Clegg, and Kent Clegg; his sister-in-law Melba Harford, and his father-in-law and mother-in-law Lee and Florence Clegg.
Don is survived by his daughter Karen Harford; daughter-in-law Wanda Harford, of Haigler, Nebraska; eight grandchildren, Ty Mayo and wife Laura, Torre Jones and wife Seelu, Galen Mayo and wife Ashleigh, Sean Mayo, Brad Harford, Sharla Morlan and husband Joe, Nicole Howard and husband Travis, and Natalie Harford; five great-grandchildren, Barrett and Gwen Mayo, Kyan Morlan, Ahnkeetah Jones, and Caden Mayo; sisters-in-law Dorothy Clegg and Doris Doyle; nieces and nephews, Linda Jones and husband Gene, Glenda Brown, Ted Harford and wife Vicky, Tom Harford and wife Virginia, Janet McQuay, Steve Clegg and wife Lonna, Jeanie Thompson and husband Bill, Bob Clegg; and numerous other relatives and friends.
Don will be greatly missed, and for his last trip to church, dressed in his "best bib and tuckers," which is what he called his dress clothes.
Memorials may be given to the Haigler Fire Department and Ambulance Service, Home Health and Hospice Services of McCook, or the Haigler United Methodist Church.
Funeral services will be Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. MDT at the United Methodist Church in Haigler with Rev. Lowell Gaither officiating. Interment will follow services at the Haigler Cemetery.
There will be no visitation or viewing. The casket will be open at the church.
Arrangements are under the direction of Forch Funeral Chapel of Benkelman.