November 19, 2020, 87, La Grange
Harry Edson Tart, 87, left those who loved him most on Thursday, November 19, 2020 at his home. Harry was born in the Spring of 1933 to homesteaders Francis Floyd and Amanda Ratliff Tart, in Banner County, Nebraska, he was their only child.
Harry’s childhood was spent on the Great American Prairie, near Pumpkin Creek, just south of the Wildcat Hills. The area’s flat, expansive and barren landscape made for a tough life, especially for a young child whose mother died before his first birthday. This area grew little, other than strong, resilient people. He often joked about the emptiness and flatness of his birthplace, “Stand on a chair anywhere in Banner County, and you can see it all.”
Harry attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse near Harrisburg, NE. After later graduating from Scottsbluff High School, he enlisted in the U. S. Air Force, during the Korean Conflict. His assignments took him and his family to duty stations in Africa, Europe, the Far East and the USA. Harry also served in Vietnam and earned the Bronze Star, with “V” for valor. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1972 after 20 years of service to his country, he considered this to be one of his greatest achievements. He later retired from a long career as a Service Technician for Wrenn Brothers Materials Handling where his bright yellow service van was seen often near factories and warehouses throughout eastern North Carolina. While Harry’s military service and awards entitle him to the honor of a burial at Arlington National Cemetery, he chose to rest near his “Home of Choice,” where, as he often said, “You never have to break through an inch of ice in the bucket to get a drink of water.”
Born during the Great Depression, from humble beginnings with no running water, indoor plumbing, or electricity, and the solitude of long, cold winters he became a strong man who accomplished much in his life.
A man with a creative, resourceful and inventive spirit, there was little that he could not figure out how to fix or make better. His sense of humor and quick wit was infectious. There was always a joke to be told and heard.
Harry was a strong advocate for higher learning and encouraged all of his children to pursue and advance their education and seek greater opportunities. He was extremely proud of all of his children and grand children and was exceptionally supportive with the paths they chose.
In his later years, he enjoyed putting on his straw hat, climbing on his tractor, spending hours cutting the grass or tinkering in his shop.
Harry is survived by his wife of 28 years, Thelma Gray Tart. They have a blended family of children, grand children and great grand children residing across the country.
Daughter Lynora and Rodney Bowen, their son Ryan Bowen and his wife Melissa, reside in Fleming Island, Florida. Son Randal Edson and Leslie Tart, their son Randal Edson Tart, reside in Atlanta, Georgia. Daughter Pamela Tart and her son Tyler Lutz reside in Fleming Island, FL.
Son Ted L. and Gail Shoemaker, reside in Winterville, NC. His daughter Nijmegen and her husband Chris Webb, their children Ethan and Lucas, reside in Raleigh, NC. Daughter Beverly and Ted Gurganus, their son Trey, reside in Bear Grass, NC. Her son Brookes Walker and his wife Lindsay and their children Kinley and Sawyer, reside in Williamston, NC. Her daughter Nikki and D.J. Parsons, their children Braxton and Ryker, reside in Amarillo, TX.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to their church, Mewborn Primitive Baptist Church c/o Lester Gray, 2856 Gray-Grant Road, Kinston, NC 28504.
A graveside service, with full military honors, to celebrate Harry’s life will be held on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 10:00 am at Wayne Memorial Park in Dudley, NC.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Rouse Funeral Home, La Grange. Online condolences may be sent to www.rousefh.com.