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 Ernest Dennis Harfst

Ernest Dennis Harfst

Havana, Mason County, Illinois, USA
Death 14 Jul 2008 (aged 81)
Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered
Memorial ID 51038388 · View Source
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Ernest D. Harfst, formerly of Sycamore IL, died Monday, July 14, 2008, in Mesa AZ. He was a former Division Chairperson and a Professor of Electricity and Electronics at Kishwaukee College, Malta IL. Previously, he was a design engineer and Supervisor of the Engineering Lab and Model Shop at Ideal Industries of Sycamore.

Ernie was born November 8, 1926, in Havana IL to Mrs. Iva Harfst. He enlisted in the US Army Air Force upon his graduation from the Richmond IL High School in 1944, and trained at Ft. Sheridan (Chicago IL), St. Norbert College (De Pere WI), and at Chanute Field (Rantoul IL). The war in Europe ended just before he completed his training to be a crew member of a B-17 and go overseas.

After being demobilized, he enrolled at the University of Illinois, where he met Betsy Perteit of Algonquin IL. They were married on August 29, 1948. He received $105.00 per month from the G.I. Bill, and Betsy worked at the Engineering Library on campus. They had a baby in November 1949, and Ernie graduated in January, 1951.

In his retirement, Ernie was busier than while teaching, if that is possible. He and Betsy were docents at the Mesa Southwest Museum, and volunteered at the Gilbert, AZ Police Dept. Ernie served as a bailiff in the courts and did telephone work and worked on the web site for the Department.

They both actively pursued their lifelong interest in handicrafts; Ernie was a skilled woodworker. He made clocks, large and small, and a large variety of smaller items. He and Betsy participated in several large local craft fairs every year. Ernie was also a passionate genealogist, doing considerable work on the family lines of his mother, his father, his stepfather, and Betsy's mother and father. Ernie was a Graver, but did not have time to add much to before his wife's ill health restricted them to their home.

The picture on the right, with the airplane, shows Ernie on the day that a traveling B-17 came to Mesa, and rides were available to the public. His sons bought him a ride on the B-17 as a gift. It was one of the greatest days of his life, he later told me.

Ernie is survived by his wife Betsy of Mesa AZ, his children Sue Ann Harfst of Boise ID, Michael (Pam) of Milwaukie OR, Patrick (Sharon) of Gilbert AZ, and by his six grandchildren, Erik, Kersten, Alix, Michelle, David, and Rachel. He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Iva Schmidt of Sycamore IL.

Ernie was a life member of the American Legion, a former member of the Civil Air Patrol, and a ham radio operator (call sign K9OPR while in Illinois, KA0ATH while in Arizona). He was the one who always preferred to leave a party via the back door, quietly & unnoticed. He carried that theme with him to the end ...

Ernest Harfst's contributor page

Family Members


Step Father: Richard O. Schmidt

Gravesite Details Thank you VERY MUCH to Corey for sponsoring this memorial page.

See more Harfst memorials in:

  • Created by: Sue Ann Harfst
  • Added: 13 Apr 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 51038388
  • Corey
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ernest Dennis Harfst (8 Nov 1926–14 Jul 2008), Find A Grave Memorial no. 51038388, ; Maintained by Sue Ann Harfst (contributor 46972179) Cremated, Ashes scattered.