Willis Marion Harsin age 88 of Knoxville passed away at his home on Tuesday morning, January 29, 2013.
Willis, the sixth child of six children, was born to Gilbert Edward “G.E.” and Irena Arvilla (Smith) Harsin on November 10, 1924, at Walnut Valley, of the Clay Township of Marion County, Iowa. When Willis was age 4, the family moved from Walnut Valley to Grandpa Doug’s place near Durham. Willis lived and farmed on his grandfather’s farm most of his life, until retiring from farming and moving to Knoxville in 1989.
Willis’ early years were devoted to his family and music. He sang with the family’s “Harsin Four Musical Group”, which performed at numerous events in Iowa from 1924 to 1940. He continued to enjoy singing his beautiful tenor voice the rest of his life.
Willis began school at the age of four, at McMillan Country School. He attended high school in Knoxville and graduated in 1943.
Willis married Maxine Klootwyk on August 23, 1953, at the Presbyterian Church of Knoxville. They shared over 59 years of marriage together and were blessed with three children: Doug, Clay and Nancy. Willis and Maxine lived on the family farm until 1989. Together they cherished their farm, raising registered Belgium Draft Horses, cattle, sheep and hogs. Willis was also active in the N.F.O, striving to obtain a fair price for livestock. After moving to Knoxville, he was employed at the V.A. Hospital, driving veterans to their medical appointments.
Willis is survived by his wife of 59 years, Maxine (Klootwyk) Harsin of Knoxville; and their son, Doug Harsin and his wife Nancy of rural Knoxville. Willis is also survived by eight grandchildren: Heather (Jay) Leshen, Heidi (Tyson) Landsgard, Jake (Crystal) Harsin, Bob (Jami) Harsin, Clay Harsin, Sarah (Michael) Gerber, Jonathan Sinnard and Levi Sinnard; and 13 great-grandchildren: Mariah, Tony, Rylee, Ben, Lillian, Brinley, Emerie Lynn, Gracey, Emma, Ella, Ethan, Tristan and Isabell; sister-in-law, Shirley (Jay) Harsin; and numerous nieces and nephews.