After a courageous battle with leukemia, Barney was called home to the loving arms of his savior on October 31, 2022.
Byron Neil Harms was born to Josephine Arlene (Rowley) and Earl Harms in Chappell, NE on February 1, 1950. Barney was the youngest of six children.
Growing up, Barney's family didn't have a lot of money; but they did have an abundance of love. Barney attended a country school near Brandon, NE through the third grade, and he then attended school in Venango. He often joked that he had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to get to school and back home. In his years at Venango High School, he excelled in sports and held a record in the mile relay as well as arguably being the best running back to ever play at Venango. Barney was also in the high school band, playing the trumpet.
In his younger years, music was a big part of his family life, as all his siblings played an instrument. Barney made a lot of good friends in high school, and as a testament to the kind of person he was, those friendships remain solid to this day. Byron married Deborah Michael on November 2, 1969; to this union two children were born, Natalie and Heather.
Barney spent most of his adult life working around cattle in the feedlot and farming. He loved to ride horses, team rope, hunt, play pitch, do tractor pulls with his grandsons, and in general, enjoy life to the fullest. He was an excellent husband, father, grandfather, and friend. Barney could weld anything, work on any engine, and build anything out of wood or metal you could think of. There was hardly anything he couldn't fix or make.
His circle of friends was large and he was known for having a big heart and helping anyone he could. If Barney was your friend, he always had your back, no matter what. Barney had the ability to find the good in everyone. Hard to find anyone tougher than Barney, likewise, you couldn't find a better friend than him. He loved taking part in local demolition derbies, the Julesburg JayCee's, the town basketball league, the Pony Express, the Julesburg Roping Club, the Sedgwick Lions Club, and Platte Valley Tractor Pullers. Although his daughters did not inherit his ability in sports, his grandsons did. He often joked he had to have two girls to get two boys. He loved taking his grandsons to the local John Deere dealership to pick out a toy tractor. He was never prouder than when watching both his grandsons go to state championships in football. He was at every game they played, whether it be football, basketball, or baseball, cheering them on. He cherished the time he spent with them as young boys riding in the combine during harvest and doing fieldwork. Recently his health prevented him from watching his granddaughter and great-grandsons in their chosen activities, but he loved to watch videos of their events. Family was very important to Barney.
Barney was a man among men, tough as nails, yet soft as a kitten. He was never afraid to stand up for what was right. There wasn't a lot of years in his life, but there was a lot of life in his years. Although he didn't get to travel to exotic places, he lived his life fully, enjoying every moment no matter where he was. He lived and loved hard. Taking pride in a good day's work, a job well done satisfied him.
Barney is preceded in death by his parents, Earl & Josephine; siblings, Donny, Jerry, Harry, Patricia, and Golden; nieces, Patricia and Brenda.
He is deeply mourned by his wife of 52 years, Debi; children, Natalie (Mike) Pankonin and Heather (Carson) Smart; grandchildren, Derek (Tracy) Smart, Seth Schneider, and Jessica Pankonin; great-grandchildren, Axel and Jaxson Smart; sisters-in-law, Jennifer Harms of Scottsbluff, and Eleanor Harms of Lincoln; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Lifelong friends, Rich & Linda Stewart, Ben Slater, Roy Neese, Gene Blake, Kelly Mast, Preacher Lacy, Marc Ness, Adam Lechman, who was like a son to Barney, and numerous other very good friends.
"Barney may not have got to live as long as we all wanted, but when he lived, he really lived"-
Preacher Lacy, "There weren't many years in his life, but there was a lot of life in his years."
Memorials are suggested to a memorial in Barney's memory for later designation by his family. Condolences may be shared at prairiehillsjulesburg.com, where the services will be streamed live.
Services will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2022, at 10:00 am at the Grant United Methodist Church, with Pastor Larry Nail and Ceciliah Igweta officiating. Inurnment will be in the Fairview Cemetery.
Prairie Hills Funeral Home of Julesburg is in charge of arrangements.