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Harry Espenscheid

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Harry Espenscheid Obituary
HARRY ESPENSCHEID, 98 SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Harry Espenscheid passed away Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Santa Barbara. He was born in 1912 in Danville, Ill. His beloved wife, Dorothy, predeceased him in 2007. He graduated from Dartmouth College and then, because he wanted adventure, he took off and traveled around the world. He traveled mainly by bike for two years during 1935 and 1936. This provided him with wonderful stories that he loved to share. He met his wife, Dorothy Sharp, at a dude ranch that he co-owned in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and whom he married in 1940. They loved that life, but World War II intervened and Harry had to sell the ranch and go into the Navy. He became a second lieutenant. After the war, they moved to Rockford, Ill. Harry bought Northwest Construction and later with the help of Tom Highland, established Gypsum Supply Co., which eventually expanded to 10 locations in three states. Harry's son Richard was president of Gypsum Supply until he retired. Harry went to the office until he was 94 years old. He enjoyed working with his trusted employees - some of whom worked for him more than 38 years. He later sold his company to his employees. Besides his family and his business, Harry was passionate about his horses. He and Dorothy loved to ride and Harry rode until he was 90 years old. Harry and Dorothy loved their community and donated land for three parks, including the Espenscheid Memorial Park near Rockford. The Boy Scouts of the Blackhawk Area Council in Rockford honored Harry last year during their 100th anniversary. They named their bike ride the "Harry Espenscheid Tour de Blackhawk." At that event, scout executive Don Kinney showed a DVD he had produced of Harry talking about his trip around the world. Harry had been a proud Eagle Scout. Harry was an inspiration to his family and friends. He loved traveling, meeting people, good stories and donating to his favorite charities. He led a very active and fulfilling life. Throughout Harry's life, his heart always remained in Jackson Hole, Wyo., amid the beauty of the Grand Tetons and where he and Dorothy started their life together. Survived by children, Fletcher Espenscheid, Richard (Patricia) Espenscheid and Mary (Bob) Ehrmann; and grandchildren, Jennifer (Deiter) Espenscheid, April (Roger) Arbelbide and Vince Espenscheid; and four great-grandchildren. Harry had lived in Santa Barbara for the past three and a half years where his daughter lives. A celebration of Harry's life from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 11, at Bethesda Covenant Church, 2101 E. State St., Rockford. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity. If you care to leave a memory or story, please go to rrstar.com.
Published in Rockford Register Star from Apr. 8 to Apr. 9, 2011
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