Joseph Pershing Harner, 91, of St. Elmo, died at 11:50 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 11, 2010, at Friendship Manor in St. Elmo.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Liberty Christian Church in rural Brownstown, with the Rev. Gary Barnes, Mr. Harner’s son-in-law, officiating. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery in rural St. Elmo, with military rites accorded by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 9770 of Brownstown. Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Friday at Claggett Funeral Home in Brownstown and one hour before services on Saturday at the church. Memorials: Fairview Church Cemetery, Friendship Manor activities department or donor’s choice.
Mr. Harner was born on Sept. 28, 1918, in the Avena farmhouse, the son of William and Rachel Rhodes Harner of Sefton Township. He was named after his mother’s brother, Joe Rhodes, who had returned safely from World War I, and his middle name was a tribute to Gen. John Pershing. He married Jennie Alice Logue on Jan. 20, 1943, at Fairview United Methodist Church in St. Elmo.
He attended the rural Avena school and graduated from Brownstown High School in 1935. He went to work at Ford Roofing in Vandalia, and was then inducted into the Army in 1942, serving in the H&S Co. 333 Engr. Regt. in World War II. Upon returning home, he became a dairy farmer (1945-1970s), worked at Home Lumber Co. in St. Elmo (1949-69) and was a janitor and bus driver for Brownstown Community Schools (1969-83). He was a member of Fairview United Methodist Church in St. Elmo and was an avid Chicago Cubs fan.
He is survived by his wife; children; Jenetia Hines of White Cloud, Mich., Jarielle and her husband Gary Winkleman of Sherman, Jvee Harner and his wife Theresa of Effingham, Javonda and her husband Gary Barnes of St. Louis, Mo., Jorita and her husband Gary Cook of East Leroy, Mich., and JoAlice and her husband Steve Dobbs of Vian, Okla.; daughter-in-law, Idalee and her husband Richard Content of Freemont, Mich.; grandchildren, Raquel and her husband Anthony Frisbie, Jana and her husband Robert Dakin, Regan and her husband Corey Zandstra, Kathleen and her husband Joshua Mateer, Joseph P. Harner III, Robert Content, Jay Winkleman, Justin Harner, Jenae Harner, Rachel Barnes, J.K. Barnes, Bethany Barnes, Jennifer Cook, Ashlyn Dobbs and Mason Dobbs; and great-grandchildren, Alexandra Frisbie, Tanner Frisbie, R. Brewer Dakin, Conner Dakin, Gabriella Dakin, Hannah Mateer and Jordan Mateer.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Ida Mae Durbin; and a son, Joseph Pershing Harner II.