Harmon Ruelle Barton
Aug 23, 1927
Nov 28, 2012
On November 28th, as the skies opened up with rain and the wind tore the last few leaves from the trees, the world lost a great man. Harmon Barton was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He was quiet and sincere. People listened carefully to what he said because he only spoke when he had something worthwhile to contribute. His manner was always gentle, kind and thoughtful and people often weren't aware of the generous things he did because he was so humble and didn't mention them. His entire life was a shining example of what it's like to be a person of deep integrity.
Harmon was born in Ogden, Utah to Harmon B. and Emily Ruelle Barton. His two sisters were June Barton Davies and Margaret Barton Sharp. He graduated from high school in Ogden and attended Weber State College before he transferred to the University of Utah where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in banking and finance.
He was able to combine his love of being at sea with serving his country as a member of the Merchant Marines. The stories of his many adventures all around the world always made his eyes twinkle and you could tell this was a part of his life that he really enjoyed. He also served in the 45th Division of the 279th Infantry and fought in Korea as a First Sergeant for the United States Army. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his bravery and competence in the battles he faced there.
In 1954, he married Thelma Lappin in New York City. They moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where Harmon worked for Walker Bank until 1963 when the family moved to New Jersey. He was employed by Montclair National Bank in New Jersey for 3 ½ years before moving to Reno in 1967 when he went to work for First National Bank of Nevada / First Interstate Bank. He taught night classes in finance at UNR and held a variety of positions with First Interstate before his retirement in 1989.
Harmon was a member of Reno Host Lions, The Prospector's Club and the Masonic Temple and Shriners. He could fix or make just about anything, and he was an extremely skilled wood craftsman who used his perfectionist tendencies to create items large and small that were works of art. As an accomplished golfer, he spent many happy hours on local courses with his treasured golf buddies.
Animals recognized his kind and caring nature and were instantly drawn to him. He adored all of his dogs, and most especially his beloved Brandy, the Airedale he rescued and who always held a special place in his heart.
He did everything well, but his great love was fly fishing for rainbow trout. Seeing him in the middle of a river, casting and watching, totally focused on the position of that fly in the water, was a sight to behold. He was clearly in his element, as he seemed to become part of the river and the natural environment surrounding him. His casting was a graceful ballet over the water, and the flies he tied were works of art. He could wade across the rocky bottom of a raging river as smoothly as if he were walking down a sidewalk. Harmon caught fish when it seemed there were none to be caught that day, it was as if the fish flocked to him when they saw his boots in the water. He released each fish gently and respectfully back into the folds of the current to live another day, his smile never dimming.
He is survived by his daughter, Stormy Barton Apgar of Gallatin Gateway, Montana and his son, Phillip (Karen) and grandson Christopher of Sparks, Nevada.
Those who have been touched by Harmon's quiet strength and compassionate nature will never forget the tall, well-dressed gentleman and the impact he had on their lives. This world really was a better place because he was part of it.
There will be a Celebration of Life for Harmon on Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 1:00pm at Walton's Sierra Chapel on Second Street in Reno.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Warriors & Quiet Waters, a foundation that emphasizes the role of fly fishing in healing for Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers. Their address is: P.O. Box 1165 Bozeman, Montana 59771.
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal from December 8 to December 12, 2012