Harlow Baker Staley died on December 4th, 2019 after living with cancer for 18 months.
Born September 26, 1926 in Modesto, Illinois, son of George Verne Staley and Ruth Elizabeth Staley (formerly Brown) of Modesto. Harlow grew up in Modesto working in his father's hatchery and attending the school where his mother taught. He lived in Modesto until departing to attend the University of Illinois in Champaign in 1944, where he graduated with honors in liberal arts (Chemistry). He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and Phi Eta Sigma. Graduating in 1948, he married his college sweetheart, Velma Lorene Carothers of Champaign, IL. They moved to Madison, Wisconsin where he earned a Master's Degree in Mathematics in February 1950. His studies included courses in statistical analysis and probability. Moving to Des Moines, Iowa, he became an actuary working at Iowa Farm Bureau of Iowa. He passed the actuarial exams with the self-study methods common for actuaries at the time completing the program in 1956. Harlow became a charter member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He was also a member of the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. He published a number of articles in their journals.
In 1955 Harlow and Lorene had their first daughter, Mary Linda. In 1959 Lorene died. He married Jane Baselt in 1960, adopting Jane's daughter Susan Jane. The following year, Ruth Ellen was born.
Serving as Chief Actuary for Farm Bureau in 1963, his last position was Vice President & Director of Administration Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. at 10th and Grand Streets Des Moines, Iowa 50307. He worked there almost 20 years. He left Farm Bureau, becoming a consulting actuary for Taylor, Ballard & Company in Cedar Rapids, IA, helping them open an office in Des Moines. In 1972-1976 he was a Consulting Actuary for Coopers and Lybrand. Harlow and Jane moved to Northbrook, IL in 1974. In 1976 he became an independent consultant in Chicago and also worked for Donald E. Whiting Inc., a telephone directory advertising agency based in Deerfield, IL until his retirement. He enjoyed working with computers at work and as a hobby. He started using punch cards in the 1950s, learning to program from IBM seminars (a whole week) and the manuals. In 1982 he wrote Wildcatting, a game for Tandy Color Computers. In his 90's he was still using Photoshop and was a regular Facebook user. He was a photographer who was active in a local photography club.
He told others he had a keen sense of humor and brought out the best in others. He said, "How do I know? My fortune cookie told me so."
Jane Staley died in 1996 of cancer. They enjoyed 35 years of marriage. He is survived by his three daughters, Susan Jane Lee of Des Moines, Mary Linda Staley of Put-in-Bay, Ohio and Ruth Staley Jones of Richmond, Virginia. His two granddaughters, Krissy Lee and Tia Lee, and two great-grandchildren, Hunter and Lilly, live in central Iowa. In-laws Walt and Fonda Baselt are in Champaign, IL. In-laws Jim and Judy Jefferson are in Huntington Beach, CA.
His twin sister has three sons: Michael Berbaum of Oak Park (wife, Katrin Maldre), Kevin Berbaum of Iowa City, Iowa (wife, Julia Lenel), and Chris Berbaum of Decatur, IL. For many years he attended a summer college program at U of M Ann Arbor, Michigan with his nephew Mike who taught in the program. Additionally, there are nieces: Janet Staley of Decatur, IL, Paula Steward of Glenarm IL, Jan Baselt Fleming of Savage, MN and Kendy Steiger of Terre Haute, IN. Nephews: Joseph Ruff of Decatur, IL, Mark Jefferson of Keller, Texas (wife, Gloria), Andrew Jefferson of Leawood, Kansas (wife Terrie), Charles Elderidge of Springfield and a dozen great-nieces and nephews.
In the past 25 years he had several special friends and traveling companions who shared adventures with him from watching turtles in the Galapagos to seeing snow falling in Maine. The group included Loretta Comeau, Tom Crocker, Phyllis Witthoeft, Madeline Sullivan, Sue Erion, Lois Bertram, the photography club, his Ann Arbor classmates, his neighbors and the Wednesday morning coffee guys.
He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Ruth Staley and his four brothers and sisters, Martha, Warren, Harriet (his twin) and Jerre.
A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 at 10:00AM at McLaren's Resthaven Cemetery, 801 19th Street, West Des Moines, Iowa.
Memorials may be made to St. Jude's Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or the Chicago Botanical Gardens 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022 in lieu of flowers
Funeral info: 847-253-5423
Published in PL-North on Dec. 12, 2019.