AIRVILLE John Hubert Harkins, 85, died peacefully and with dignity in his home on Wednesday, September 11, 2013. He was the husband of Shirley (Pearson) Harkins with whom he had shared 63 years of marriage. Born on March 18, 1928, in Delta, he was a son of the late Hubert Parke and Nora Elizabeth (Findley) Harkins and a 1947 graduate of the former Delta High School. During his school years, John was a great athlete in basketball and his prep times in both the 220 yard and 440 yard dash garnered district and statewide accolades. John continued his education at Gettysburg College for his freshman studies and ran track for the college team. He then completed a transfer to the Eckels College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia. Following his father's footsteps in the funeral profession, John graduated from Eckels in 1950 and returned to Delta to operate the family funeral home. He met the love of his life, Shirley Pearson on a blind date in 1948. John's favorite tale to recount was how he met Shirley and until the day he died, he could recall exactly what she wore on the first date. Following courtship, the two were married in Old Lyme, Ct., in 1950 and settled in Delta; John enlisted in the United States Army, completed basic training at Camp Atterbury, Ind. in 1950 and served in the U.S. Army Reserves until 1952. As a funeral director of Harkins Funeral Home in Delta from 1950 until his retirement in 1992, John was most well-known and regarded for his true calling in life: an honest and heartfelt compassion for helping families deal with the loss of loved ones. John was very involved with his community, as a lifetime member of Slateville Presbyterian Church where he had served as both a deacon and elder, Chairman of the Slateville Cemetery Association, member of Friendship Lodge #663 F.&A.M; Mason-Dixon Lions Club, Boy Scout Troop #400 and the American Legion Post #182. John was a family man and a pillar of the community. While he'll be remembered for many things, his uncanny ability to relate to people and make them laugh embodied a famous Churchill quote, "Boys, a joke is a serious thing." The family wishes to thank hospice and the caregivers who took such good care of John. In addition to his wife, Shirley, he is survived by two sons, Jeffrey Harkins and his wife, Sandra Harkins of Delta, and Stephen Harkins and his wife, Cynthia Harkins of Greenville, S.C.; four grandchildren, Leigh Ann Harkins of Delta, Drew Harkins of Greenville, S.C.; Aaron Harkins of Charlotte, N.C., and Sean Harkins of Delta; two great grandchildren, Alexis Dixon of Wrightsville and Ashlynn Johnson of Forest Hill, Md. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 14, 2013, at 11 a.m. at Slateville Presbyterian Church, 308 Slateville Road, Delta, with interment in the adjoining church cemetery. Reverend James B. Shuler and Reverend Guy Dunham will co-officiate. His family will receive friends in the Social Hall of the church immediately following the committal. In lieu of flowers, his family would prefer memorial contributions to the Slateville Cemetery Endowment Fund, c/o Mrs. Robert Scarborough, 2469 Bryansville Road, Delta, PA 17314. For directions or to send condolences, please call 800-55-5915 or visit www.harkinsfuneralhome.com
Published in York Daily Record & York Dispatch on Sept. 13, 2013
Harkins Funeral Home, Inc.
600 Main Street Delta, PA 17314