Robert Charles Harmsen, 78, of Davenport, Iowa, passed away Friday, July 5, 2019, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Robert was born on July 30, 1940, son of Alvin and Grace (Daufeldt) Harmsen. One of six siblings, Robert grew up on a farm in eastern Iowa. After graduating from Bennett High School in 1958, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he learned about discipline, sacrifice and goal-setting. Ranked a Lance Corporal, Robert was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. While there he earned a black belt in karate. Throughout his life he had a deep appreciation for all who served and gave their life for our country.
After an honorable discharge from the Marines, Robert started his career as a carpenter apprentice and later founded Robert Harmsen Builder, Inc., where he worked as a residential and commercial contractor throughout the Quad Cities for 50 years. He loved being a carpenter and seeing a project from start to finish. He valued the many work relationships he had over the years and considered himself lucky to have such good friends.
He never truly retired; he stayed active mowing grass, working on new apartment projects, and looking for the next opportunity. Over the years he also enjoyed working on his farm in Texas and spending time in Colorado, where he went skiing and rode ATVs as well as served as Village Square Home Owners Association President at Copper Mountain.
Robert could be tough, but fair. He was respected for his work ethic, his willingness to lead by example, and his high standards and expectations. He was a man of principle, who believed in honesty and integrity, and honored the value of a handshake. He took pride in a job well done and in helping others succeed.
Robert was a loving father who enjoyed coaching his sons’ baseball teams when they were young and passing on his life experiences and values. Guts, condition, and desire were words he learned while running track at Bennett High School and lived by throughout his life. He will be missed.
Survivors include his fiancé, Danette Bauder, Davenport; sons: Mark (Shannon) Harmsen, Belton, Texas, and Scott (Maureen Maledon) Harmsen, Silverthorne, Colorado; grandchildren: Ryan and Brynn Harmsen; siblings, Deanna (Frank Rasso) Harmsen, Silvis, Illinois, Calvin (Patricia) Harmsen, Horseshoe Bay, Texas, Richard (Marge) Harmsen, Durant, Betty Ann (Tyrone Parker) Harmsen, Omaha, Nebraska; a sister-in-law, Betty Harmsen, Horseshoe Bay, Texas; and many nieces and nephews.
Robert was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Ashley Harmsen; his parents, Alvin and Grace Harmsen; and a brother, Gary Harmsen.
A service celebrating Robert’s life will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 11, 2019, at Westside Assembly of God in Davenport. Private burial will take place in the Rock Island National Cemetery, Arsenal Island. Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.
Memorials may be made to Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.