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Harry Hassler - August 26, 2010


Harry Philip Hassler, 98, was born Jan. 12, 1912 in Plymouth, Neb. to Charles F. and Martha E. (Weible) Hassler. He died Aug. 26, 2010.

He was the youngest child in a family of seven children. He was baptized at Peace Lutheran Church on May 25, 1912 in Plymouth and confirmed in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Amherst in 1927.

In the spring of 1915, he moved with his family from Plymouth to Gradin, N.D., where they farmed. He lived with his family in North Dakota until 1920 when they moved everything they owned, including livestock, in two train cars to Amherst, where they farmed one mile west and one-half mile north of Amherst. It was on this farm that he grew to manhood. Harry went through 10th grade at Amherst Public School.

Harry joined the U.S. Navy in 1932 and was called to active duty in 1933. He received basic training in San Diego, Calif. He then served for five years on the U.S.S. Colorado as a plug man for the 16-inch gun. During this time he was very athletic and was a stroke oar man on a race boat crew.

In 1934 he was stationed on the east coast. After this he visited several ports and was discharged on Aug. 15, 1937 after returning from the South Pacific searching for Amelia Earhart.

In 1936 his brothers Charles and Elmer purchased a farm and Harry worked for them. Then he rented some ground and farmed until 1941.

In 1940 he took over the management position at the Amherst Co-op bulk plant. After the Army started pressuring him in 1941, he went to Denver and re-enlisted in the Navy. He then spent about four and a half years in the Navy.

He was on a submarine tender in Brisbane, Australia in 1942 when World War II started, with six old subs from World War I brought from the Philippines by McArthur. He came back to the United States in 1942 and served in various bases. His last charge was on the destroyer Wadsworth. He was discharged in September of 1945.

On June 3, 1941 he was married to Geneva Finch, daughter of Henry F. and Sophia Behn-feldt, in St. John’s Lutheran Church two miles south and six miles east of Ogallala, Neb. To this union one son, Hank, was born. At this time he was renting a farm, which his brothers farmed for him while he was in the Navy. Then he bought the farm north of town.

He farmed until 1978 when he started having problems with his legs. Then his son Hank took over the farming operation. He had lived in his present home since 1942. His home was built in 1907 by Van Dyke.

Harry was very active in Zion Lutheran Church; he was an elder and had been a member of the church since 1945. He was a lifetime member of V.F.W. and a past commander. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing cards and was an original member of Club 25. He also enjoyed watching the Rockies and the Nuggets.

Preceding him in death were his infant brother; father and mother; wife, Geneva; step-son, Verdis Finch; brothers, Charles, Elmer and Clarence; and sisters, Amelia and Irma.

Harry is survived by his son, Hank and wife Wanda of Holyoke and their children, Mathew Kropp, Mark Kropp and wife Gretchen and Kristi Colglazier and husband Andrew; daughter-in-law, Oresta Finch and her children, Sharri Bartilotta, Zeke Finch, Zane Finch and wife Lynn and Buddy Finch; 13 great-grandchildren, four great-great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and the Melissa Memorial Hospital staff, his extended family.

Harry’s funeral service was held Aug. 30 at Zion Lutheran Church in Holyoke with Pastor Gary Rahe officiating. Interment followed at Holyoke Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Melissa Memorial Hospital Foundation or Lutheran Hour Ministries.

Gerk Funeral Home was entrusted with the arrangements.