Richard Harns

Richard J. Harns was known to area farmers as the go-to guy for decades.

The former owner of Port Feed Supply, Mr. Harns knew many of the farmers by name.

“They had a great deal of respect for each other,” Mr. Harns’ daughter Sue Kroeger said.

“He fell in love with the people, and they fell in love with him.”

In 1955, Mr. Harns applied for a job at Josie Feed Supply in the Town of Port Washington and was hired that same day, his daughter said.

“He was a strong man,” his daughter said. “He could lift a 100-pound bag of feed and carry it on his shoulder to the truck.”

He bought the mill in January 1962 and changed its name to Port Feed Supply.

Mr. Harns and his wife Marjorie ran the mill until late 1986, when they sold it to Fred Laatsch, who owned Saukville Feed Supplies.

But Mr. Harns continued working at the mill for another three years before he retired.

Mr. Harns, who grew up on a farm, had an understanding and empathy for what farmers deal with, his daughter said.

“If a farmer had his barn burn, he would be the first one there to see how he could help and offer feed for the animals,” she said.

Every New Year’s Eve, Mr. Harns would put out a spread for his customers, and followed that with an overall cleanup of the mill, his daughter added.

“He believed a clean house, a clean mill would bring good luck,” she said.

Mr. Harns died of complications of a stroke and dementia Saturday, Sept. 29, at Virginia Highland Health and Rehabilitation in Germantown. He was 89.

Mr. Harns was a native of the Town of Trenton, born on April 23, 1929, to James and Reta Beatrice Cole Harns.

He graduated from Cedarburg High School in 1948.

In 1951, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served in the Infantry Division 45 during the Korean War. He was shot while serving and discharged in 1953.

He was active in the Port Washington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5373, serving as commander at one time, and the Belgium American Legion Post 412. He was a member of the post color guard.

Mr. Harns set up the tent and operated the VFW’s Fish Day tent for many years, his daughter said.

On Oct. 3, 1953, he married Marjorie Ansay at Holy Cross Catholic Church.

The couple settled in Port Washington, where Mr. Harns was known for the pristine lawn at his home.

“He was a fanatic about having perfect grass. There’s not a weed in it,” his daughter said.

He also cut the grass for five or six other people, particularly the elderly and people with disabilities, she said.

“He was a very caring man,” she said, adding her father loved to play cards, especially sheepshead, and would travel to various senior living centers and play with residents.

“He would go there just to keep everyone’s spirits up,” his daughter said.

Mr. Harns and his wife enjoyed traveling and visited places that included New York, Branson and Aruba, but they particularly liked to take mystery trips.

Mr. Harns was active at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Port Washington for many years.

“He was a very caring man who was very community-minded,” his daughter said, adding he was a fun-loving man as well.

“But his big thing was family and church.”

Mr. Harns, who grew up with four sisters and later had four daughters, was thrilled when his first grandson was born, she said.
“It was very special to him.”

Mr. Harns is survived by his daughters Susan (Jerry) Kroeger of Grafton, Mary (Rick) Gburzynski of Germantown, Ann (Dave) Rispalje of Cedarburg and Jean (Scott) Franzen of Fredonia, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

He is further survived by his sister Evelyn “Evie” Rinn of Port Washington.

He was preceded in death by his wife Marjorie in 2007, grandchildren Michael, Allan, Holly, Jamie and Marie, three sisters, a sister-in-law and five brothers-in-law.

A Mass of Christian burial for Mr. Harns was to be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, at St. John XXIII Parish, St. Peter of Alcantara Catholic Church in Port Washington. Father Patrick Wendt was to officiate.

Visitation was to be at the church Wednesday from 3 p.m. until the service.

Burial with military honors was to be at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Port Washington.

Funeral arrangements were handled through Eernisse Funeral Home, Port Washington.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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