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Bruce Thrams Harter

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Bruce Thrams Harter Obituary

1933 - 2015

Bruce Harter was an experience one cannot forget. Every life he touched was the richer for having known him--from long time friends to strangers. After living a long and varied life as a Farmer and Renaissance Man, Bruce Thrams Harter left us to join his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on March 9, 2015. He will be deeply missed by family and friends, but has left a vast store of memories that inspire respect, awe, laughter, and curiosity!

Born in 1933 to Leonard and Elsie Harter, Bruce was raised amidst the fruit and nut orchards near Yuba City, in Sutter County, Northern California. He was mentored by his father Leonard, and at a young age became a skilled mechanic and adept at metal and wood lathe work - he built a go-cart at age six!

Subsequent to attending Tierra Buena Grammar School and graduating from Yuba City High, Bruce began study at UC Davis. After his sophomore year, he joined the U.S. Army and served two years stateside in the Tank Corps during the Korean Conflict. Then he returned to school, earned a B.S. in Pomology (the study of pitted fruits), and served six additional years as an Army Reservist.

Driving a green 1954 GMC pick-up, he courted Gini Maag and won her heart! After marrying in 1958, they settled on a 45 acre farm west of Yuba City on North Township Road, where they raised their two children surrounded by peach, prune, and almond orchards, various stock and foul, extensive vegetable and flower gardens and fruit trees.

Bruce's first occupation was Cannery Fieldman and Orchardist with Harter Packing Company, though the majority of his farming career was spent as an independent orchardist and alfalfa farmer.

He was a member of Sutter United Methodist Church, Marysville First Presbyterian Church, Grace Baptist Church of Yuba City, and Greybull First Presbyterian Church. He loved the Lord and loved to share the Good News of the Gospel.

Bruce faithfully served his community over many decades in many capacities: Nuestro Elementary School Board, Sutter Union High School Board (34 yrs !), Sutter County Airport Advisory Committee, Sutter County Historical Society, and the Community Memorial Museum Commission. He was Past Master of Enterprise Lodge #70 Free and Accepted Masons, a reserve deputy for the Sutter County Sheriff's Department, a member of the Yuba-Sutter Sheriff's Aero-Squadron, and last but certainly not least, he held the intriguing title of Corporate Secretary for the Salmon River Mine Company.

Bruce Harter was a gentleman, a farmer, a grammarian, a raconteur, and a life-long learner who inspired curiosity and a yen for gleaning knowledge. He definitely earned the nick-name "walking encyclopedia"! From childhood, he respected the soil and that which it produced. A steward of the land, he instilled this love in both his children--his son a Soil Scientist and his daughter an avid gardener. He delighted in the rich, earthy smell of freshly worked ground and diesel smoke in the spring, as much as he loved the honeyed fragrance of almond blossoms in February, and the pleasing aroma of freshly cut hay in the summer.

Bruce was also a Renaissance Man! He earned his pilot's license in college and purchased his first of three airplanes, a J3 Cub. A wilderness man/camper at heart, he led his family annually on either flying camping trips or hiking trips with their two pack donkeys. Bruce fly-fished mountain streams of the West, dabbled in wine, beer, and vinegar brewing, shot pistols competitively, made his own ammunition, was a master woodworker, collected all things including antique Caterpillar tractors, sang, played guitar, piano and accordion, and worked on a hard rock mining operation in the Siskyou Mountains.

This man never met a stranger. He asked fascinating questions and never forgot an answer! Mutual respect and sincere care for others were hallmarks of his life. A farmer by profession, Bruce also planted seeds of hope, truth, generosity, and genuine care in all the lives he touched.

In 2010 Bruce and Gini embarked on a monumental Western Adventure together - they left their home of 53 years in Yuba City to relocate to Greybull, Wyoming to live near their son and his wife. In just four years, Bruce made an impact on his new community, enriching lives and making memories with new friends.

Surviving Bruce are his wife of 57 years, Gini; son Holton (Lori) of Greybull, Wyoming; daughter Andrea (Robert) of Norfolk, Virginia; six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

The family invites one and all to join them in honoring Bruce by attending a Memorial Celebration of Life at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 11, 2015 at the Masonic Lodge, 501 2nd Street, Yuba City. Contributions in Bruce's memory may be made to the Sutter County Historical Society, the , or Montana PBS.

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Published in Appeal Democrat on Apr. 6, 2015
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