Merle G. Harris, 79

Merle G. Harris, 79 died peacefully January 6, 2013 at Regional West Medical Center with family at his bedside.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery in Scottsbluff. Visitation will be Wednesday from 1 to 8 p.m. at Dugan Kramer Funeral Chapel with family present from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Memorials may be made in his memory to Calvary Lutheran Church in Scottsbluff or the Coop Ministries Backpack Program.
Tributes of sympathy may be left at www.dugankramer.com.

Merle had been an involved member of the community since moving to Scottsbluff in 1976. He was born January 13, 1933 in Miller, SD to Clayton and Dale (Weigart) Harris. He grew up in Watertown, DS before serving in the U.S. Army in the early '50's. After his enlistment he graduated from Dakota Weslyan University. He met his wife, Ruth (Walker) Harris in Rapid City, SD. They were married in Cloquet, Minn. Their union lasted for 56 years.

Merle was an active member of Calvary Lutheran Church where he served as past congregational president and on the board of trustees. He enjoyed singing in the choir for over 25 years. He was a charter member of the Sugar Valley Rally and held a lifelong fascination with antique automobiles. He restored a 1948 Pontiac Silver Streak convertible and greatly enjoyed joining in car club tours and other auto rallies in the region. Merle worked as an insurance adjuster for the General Adjustment Bureau (GAB) for over 40 years. He knew every back road, town and ranch in the Panhandle of Nebraska.

Merle was a member of the Kiwanis Club, served in the local soup kitchen and loved to travel. He visited almost all of the 50 U.S. states including Alaska and Hawaii. In addition to cars, he enjoyed visiting the great outdoors and loved camping. He was active with his sons in the scouting program. Merle also had a love of reading. In addition to spy novels and political thrillers, he had an abiding interest in American history. He was a devoted husband and father, who especially loved Christmastime with the whole family. While his last few months of life presented some challenges he was very happy to be home this past Christmas to enjoy family and friends.

Survivors include his wife Ruth, sons Jeffery Harris of Columbus, NE; Dr. Rodney Harris of San Diego, CA; Doug Harris of Scottsbluff; daughter Cami Harris / partner Mike Silbernagel and the love of his life, granddaughter Claire Silbernagel of Arvada, CO; brother Gary (Mia) Harris of Yuma, AZ; sister Glenda Stivers of Texarkana, TX; sister-in-law Isabel Walker of Barnum, Minn. and numerous nieces and nephews.

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