Our dear husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Robert Layne Harris, 77, of Newdale, passed peacefully on Sunday, May 16, 2021, from complications due to Alzheimer's disease. He was surrounded by his family and those who loved him during his final hours on earth.
Layne was born April 24, 1944, in Rexburg, Idaho, to Henry and Lena Harris. He was the third child of four, with two brothers, Roger and Danny Harris, and one sister, Raymonda Furness. He grew up in Newdale where he worked side by side with his family farming and ranching. It was also where he developed a lifetime love of working and training horses, especially Shire draft horses.
At a young age, Layne developed a passion for sports, where he excelled. He graduated from Sugar-Salem High School as a 4-year letterman in football, basketball and track & field. His dedication to sports helped him lead his teammates to very successful seasons, including an undefeated season in football and a state championship in basketball.
He was an outstanding member of the FFA and served as president of the Boys League and was selected as a Boys State representative.
As a high school senior, he was selected as Boy of the Year, an All-American in football, and he earned a full-ride scholarship to play football at Utah State University.He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science and Physical & Biological Science.
Layne was always grateful for his coaches and mentors in sports and education and went on to be an influential coach and teacher himself at Sugar-Salem High School before he began farming full-time. He spoke often of how he valued his years teaching and the relationships he developed with those he coached and taught.
He married his hometown and high school sweetheart, Beverly Howard, on August 28, 1964, in the Idaho Falls Temple. They lived in Logan, Utah, during their early married life and then permanently resided in Newdale where they farmed and raised their seven children.
Layne was appointed the mayor of Newdale and served for seven years and oversaw paving the city streets, a new water and sewer system, and other improvements that are still evident today.
Layne was an excellent potato farmer who didn't need a GPS to plant straight rows. He also loved cutting grain and welcomed friends and family to ride in the combine with him.
Farming was hard work, but it was the place where his talents and knack for growing things brought him great satisfaction. He continued to work in the grain and potato harvest season until his health would not allow it.
When work was done, he enjoyed horse riding in the Tetons with his family and friends. He built wagons, a skill he learned from his father, and especially loved driving his teams of Shires pulling wagons and sleighs (with many groups of happy passengers). He enjoyed snowmobiling, going to horse shows and rodeos, and attending sporting events. He loved listening to western music, taking a good drive to beautiful places, and having dutch-oven cookouts (where he would cook the potatoes). Layne was an engaging storyteller and one you could always count on for good conversation.
He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Layne enjoyed his friendships and service opportunities in the ward, especially organizing horse rides in the Tetons and working with the youth.
In his later years, he served on the high council of the Sugar City Idaho Stake and in the Rexburg Idaho Temple. He lived the gospel of Jesus Christ best by the way he focused on the people he served. Layne always gave of his time and resources genuinely and strived to encourage, lift and look for the best in others.
Layne would often say that his greatest accomplishment in life was his family and acknowledged Beverly's hand in helping to make it so. He was an amazing and influential father and he loved his children and grandchildren deeply. He taught many life lessons through work, sports and living with integrity. It made him very proud that all of his children graduated from college and that all his sons served missions.
We feel that Layne's welcoming smile and sense of humor will be remembered by all who knew him. Layne was a friend to all and provided his family and friends with unforgettable memories and stories that will be retold for years to come.
Layne is survived by his wife, Beverly (Howard) Harris; his children, Trent (Gaynell) Harris of Rigby, Kevin (Jennifer) Harris of Idaho Falls, Lance (Kelly) Harris of Washington, Utah, Shayne (Holly) Harris of Newdale, Robert (Jennifer) Harris of Ammon, Brandon (Megan) Harris of Newdale, and Shannon (Jason) Brown of Newdale; his siblings, Roger (Gwyn) Harris of Rexburg, Raymonda (K) Furness of Newdale, and Danny Harris of Newdale; 27 grandchildren (13 grandsons, 14 granddaughters), with another granddaughter and a great-granddaughter on the way.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Lena Harris, his in-laws, Pete and Wanda Howard, and brother-in-law, Micheal Howard.
Funeral Services will be held Saturday, May 22, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at the Newdale Ward Building, 350 Church St. The family will receive friends Friday, May 21, 2021, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Flamm Funeral Home, 61 North 1st East, Rexburg, and on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. prior to the funeral services. Burial will be in the Teton-Newdale Cemetery. Condolences may be submitted online via, www.flammfh.com.
Streaming services will be available at www.flammfh.com
the morning of the funeral.
Published by Rexburg Standard Journal from May 18 to Jun. 18, 2021.