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Harold Russell Kern
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Birth: Feb. 26, 1889
Clifton
Washington County
Kansas, USA
Death: Jan. 11, 1976
Fort Collins
Larimer County
Colorado, USA

Harold Russell Kern was born the fifth child of Joseph and Jane Rebecca (Foss) Kern in Clifton Kansas where his Civil War grandfather had helped build a town on the prairie.

Joseph and Jenny, again, gathered their little family and headed west with their tools and personal possessions in a wagon. Harold was a young boy of 7 but remembered the trip with clarity into his senior years. When they arrived near the foothills (front range) of Colorado in early evening, he was thrilled to see the lights of civilization twinkling like a necklace of diamonds nestled in the valley.

After a few stops along the way, where Joseph plied his many skills as carpenter and running a hardware store, the family arrived in early Fort Collins. Two of the older brothers were sent ahead to find housing. They were entrusted with Jenny's funds and promptly lost the money before accomplishing their task.

Jenny had an idea this might happen and had given the younger boy a packet to open 'just in case'. This packet contained just enough funds to tide them over until their parents arrived. This event led to Jenny's saying, "A Kern and his money are soon Parted"...or "...are some party."

The Kerns had several homes, in town and in the hills of Masonville where Joseph also farmed. He had several talents acquired from his family in Eden New York and from Jenny's father in Kansas. Jenny had been sent to girls school during the post Civil War era, and had taught school. She chose to keep her youngest son at home, teaching him herself.

Harry attended school for a few years in Fort Collins but he was much older than the other children (only a few years younger than his teacher, Miss MacAnally) and found learning on his own much easier. He taught himself using National Geographic magazines, physics/mechanics books and almanacs. When the 'new' sugar factory was built, Harry stood in lines of workers to be hired to 'truck sugar' as an extra gang member. He quickly worked his way up to Master Mechanic, inventing a continuous centrifugal machine for the company (but, not credited for the patent).

Harry fell in love with the daughter of a neighbor. She was younger and did not notice the quiet young admirer. He sent her a gift of a set of leather covered works of Wm. Shakespeare. They were married in McCook Neb., following an early morning train ride, on June 26 1913 in stifling heat. Then made the return trip to Fort Collins later that same day.

Harry and Ida went to California during WWI where Harry served his country, first as a (self-taught) welder on the big battle ships. Later he and Ida took their baby to the north most reaches of Montana (North of Glendive) to homestead and raise wheat for the US Calvary. Their adventures in the remote area were classic.

Ida became ill and was taken back to Fort Collins for surgery and recovery. Harry tried to run the farm on his own but his heart ached for his loved ones and he made the trip back to Colorado to be with them, just months before his homestead was 'proven up'.

He returned to his pre-war job at the Fort Collins Great Western factory and remained working there until the close of the factory in 1953. He did take on the factory at Eaton for a few years, and was asked (during WWII)to become assistant Factory Manager. Harry declined this honor, wanting to remain in the Mechanics group. He was extremely shy and felt he was not educated enough to preform the duties of the front offices. He retired shortly after but visited his friends at the factory frequently, bringing them a piece of Ida's famous pies for holidays.

Harry and Ida had three children; Lois Elizabeth (Betty), Barbara Jane and Lawrence Russell. Betty was the light of Harry's life and a little spark out on the Montana prairie. She was 12 when Barbara was born. Lawrence was born almost 5 years later, just before Betty married Charley Watson and had daughter Vera Lucille.

WWII had arrived and Charley was off to war. Harry had with his own hands, built between 12 hour shifts at the factory, a log home on the corner of Overland Train (where the stage had run) and Vine Dr. in a beet field he cleared himself. Harry built another, smaller log house for Betty and his grand daughter. Vera spent much of her time at Harry and Ida's growing up with Barbara and Lawrence, until her parents moved to and from California.

Harry became very close to Barbara and her only child, Kathleen, especially when his son, Lawrence went off to college in Berkley CA and became an Episcopal Priest and Betty had gone with Charley and their 4 daughters to California. (Betty adopted a son later and remarried his father after Charley died.)

Harry continued to work after his sugar factory retirement, keeping up his land, raising chickens, pigs, pasture for horses and doing odd jobs. Harry loved to paint and fell from the third story of a house he was painting one day when he was 72. He felt himself slip on the roof tiles and jumped into the fall. He broke his wrist and drove himself to the hospital. The nurses were astounded to see what he had done but had trouble since Harry was too shy to allow anyone to remove his long underwear to check for other damages.

Harry moved Ida into 'town' to a smaller house on Mulberry near Shields because of their age and not being able to care for the acreage and ditch watering. Ida loved the house with the rose-red door but Harry was antsy and began digging a cellar under the house. He shoveled snow for friends and family, gardened and drove his grandchild to school. His world ended when Ida succumbed to her ailing heart.

Harry sold the house in the country and took his children, Barbara and Rev. Larry to Maine to see the home of his mother, Jenny of which he had heard so many stories. He climbed lighthouses and rocks on beaches. In his elder years, his legs were still strong and he could out climb the rocks on the shore or walk paths better than anyone. He visited the graves of his ancestors and walked where they fought for our nation's freedom.

This was his history lesson for his children and he wanted it to be given to his grandchildren, too. Lawrence became the family genealogist and kept records and writings. Barbara and her husband also worked on their family lines. When Lawrence died in 2011, he passed on the work with notes to continue, and here it is.

Harry watched Halley's comet and wanted to be able to see it return in 1986. He said to watch when it goes by and wave to him, because that is where his spirit will be. 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Joseph A Kern (1842 - 1926)
  Jane Rebecca Foss Kern (1847 - 1930)
 
 Spouse:
  Ida May Spurlock Kern (1892 - 1973)
 
 Children:
  Lois Elizabeth Kern Alvarez (1914 - 1987)*
  Lawrence Russell Kern (1930 - 2011)*
 
 Siblings:
  Fred Bert Kern (1872 - 1957)*
  Charles Foss Kern (1874 - 1960)*
  Guy Aldrich Kern (1876 - 1896)*
  Walter Loring Kern (1880 - 1938)*
  Harold Russell Kern (1889 - 1976)
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Grandview Cemetery
Fort Collins
Larimer County
Colorado, USA
Plot: G L 169 9
 
Maintained by: KE Tuttle
Originally Created by: Derald Johnson
Record added: Mar 31, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 50478165
Harold Russell Kern
Added by: KE Tuttle
 
Harold Russell Kern
Added by: Friday's Council Tree Chapter, NSDAR
 
Harold Russell Kern
Added by: KE Tuttle
 
 
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Inbetween beet campaigns, Harry and his brothers had several enterprises. They had a hardware store in Orange County and guided expeditions in to the mountains (hunters, prospectors or just tourists). They also had bike shops and raced motorcycles (flathe...(Read more)
-Anonymous
 Added: Oct. 22, 2014
For Harry's first great grandson, whom he dearly loved....Jeremy James, keeper of the shotgun that crossed the prairie in Harry's care. (Also the one that was misloaded and went off when the wagon hit a hole, shooting Joseph in the back. Jenny spent hours...(Read more)
-Anonymous
 Added: Oct. 22, 2014
Walking With GrandpaI like to walk with Grandpa,His steps are short like mine.He doesn't say "Now hurry up!"He always takes his time.Most people have to hurry,They do not stop and see,I'm glad that God made Grandpa"Unrushed" and young like me.Author: Unkn...(Read more)
- KE Tuttle
 Added: Mar. 11, 2013
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