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In Memory of Harley Eaton

Celebration of Life

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Thursday May 12, 2022
Old Ptaceks Event Center
1449 Orrin Road
Prescott WI, 54021

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Harley Elwood Eaton age 95, of Prescott, Wisconsin, passed away unexpectedly on April 14, 2022, at his home.

Harley was born February 25, 1927 in Ellsworth, Wisconsin.  He was the oldest of four children born to Curtis Eaton and Dora (Husfloen) Eaton.  When Harley was five, his family moved to Prescott, Wisconsin.  Harley attended the Prescott schools, leaving high school in his senior year to join the Navy.  While in the Navy, Harley was recruited to join the Eddy Program.  A program that trained persons as electronics maintenance technicians for the US Navy and US Marine Corps.  Harley worked with top secret information while enrolled in this program.  He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946.

After his tour of duty was over, Harley was able to go to college on the GI Bill.  At that time as long as you could pass your entrance exams, you were accepted in to the college whether or not you had a high school degree.  Harley went on to attend both Hamline University and the University of Minnesota.

In 1950, Harley started his plumbing and heating business in Prescott.  He was elected President of the Wisconsin Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association and served on many state level committees through the years.  Harley’s business motto was “In our business a flush beats a full house”.

On November 3, 1951, Harley married Charlotte Helen Fiedler at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Oak Grove Township.  They were blessed with four children, Deborah, Dennis, Thomas and Brenda.

During their 70-year marriage, Harley, Charlotte and their family enjoyed many travels by car, train, and boat.  When the family was young, Harley bought a pontoon boat and countless excursions were made out on the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers.  He would stop along the way up the St. Croix, lower the gang plank and pick up friends who lived along the river.  Harley especially liked to pick up the George Jacques family for a fun and relaxing day out on the water.  He also hosted many relatives and other friends throughout the years, on fun filled cruises.  The family also took several train trips to Montana to visit Harley’s relatives, and to California to visit friends.  In 1967, Harley drove the family, with a pop-up camper trailer pulled behind their station wagon, to Montreal, Canada for the world’s fair exhibition, Expo 67.

Harley and Charlotte continued to travel after the children were grown and probably visited all 50 states.  Some highlights of their travels include: taking car trips to Winnipeg, Canada to visit their friends, the Mackies, and taking train trips across Canada from Winnipeg through the Canadian Rockies to Vancouver, British Columbia, a trip to Hong Kong with daughter Brenda. Last but not least, was a crowning glory travel adventure cruise on the European Baltic Sea.  Harley thought that was the trip of a lifetime!  Closer to home, Harley and Charlotte enjoyed taking their camper down the Rush River and spending the weekend with friends, the Parmeters and the Tronniers.  And last but not least, Harley had a one-of-a-kind lifetime passport to visit Denmark Township, which he used often through the years.

Besides traveling, Harley enjoyed fishing, taking summer trips to Orr, Minnesota to fish sunnies on Pelican Lake with the Tronniers, winter trips to Lake of the Woods with Butch Davies and a trip to Alaska with his son, Dennis, Dook and Mike Sterud, where he landed a 120 pound halibut when he was going on 80 year of age!

Harley had a deep love and respect for the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers and he felt very lucky to have grown up in Prescott, where those two rivers meet.  The rivers provided many benefits to Harley and his childhood friends.  The kids entertained themselves with fishing, swimming and ice skating and you know some shenanigans, too.  Harley’s friends ended up giving him the nickname “Huck” after Huckleberry Finn, because he spent so much time “down at the river”.  That name stuck with him for the rest of his life.  While in high school, the river provided summer employment for Harley.  He worked in the St. Paul Harbor on the steamer, Demopolis.  In 1983, he was privileged to be invited on to Jacques Cousteau’s vessel the “Calypso”, whose crew was filming a documentary piece on the Upper Mississippi River.  The pilot of the “Calypso” just so happened to be Harley’s good friend from childhood, Gene (Popeye) Tronnier.  Recently, Harley was helping Mary Beeler gather information on the people from Prescott, who worked on the river, for a river room exhibit at the Prescott History Center.

Even though Harley had transferred the business operation to his son, Tom, he still continued to go in to the shop every day to help out or go on jobs with his best buddy, grandson, McCoulter, up until the week before he passed.  A favorite pastime of Harley’s in the mornings before he started his day at the shop, was to stop and have coffee at the No Name Saloon in downtown Prescott.  There he would share a cup with two of his very good friends, Paula and Walt, and get caught up on the local buzz and try to solve the world’s problems.

In the spring through fall, when not at the shop, Harley spent the rest of his time in his beloved garden.  He had the most meticulously groomed vegetable garden.  He spent hours and hours in his garden.  If you couldn’t find Harley around the house, you would find him in the garden.  Then come late summer, early fall, he would get an abundant harvest and complain about what he was going to do with all of it.  He would end up sharing fresh vegetables with many relatives and friends and making his wonderful salsa.  He would always talk about scaling back and having a smaller garden the next year, but that never happened.

Harley was an active member of the Prescott United Church of Christ.  He and Charlotte really enjoyed the coffee and conversation following the service and hosted many of those gatherings, even serving one of Harley’s favorites – baking powder biscuits with sausage and gravy to the folks a time or two.

Harley was an honored and dedicated member of the American Legion Post 61 in Prescott, WI.  He received a lifetime achievement award from the Legion, for 75 years of continuous membership the week before he died.

Harley is survived by his wife Charlotte, their children Deborah (Curt) Arey, Dennis Eaton, Thomas Eaton and Brenda Mitchell.  Grandchildren Bryttannee (Eric) Jackowski, McCoulter Eaton, Slayte Eaton, Nicole (Mike) Swanson, Tim Eaton and Whitney (Zach) Hauser.  Five great-grandchildren Mya and Alexa Eaton, Clayton Swanson and Aryk and Aurora Jackowski.  Also survived by sisters-in-law Phyllis Hatten and Barbara Mahoney and many beloved nieces and nephews as well as other relatives and friends.

Harley was preceded in death by his three siblings; sisters Dorothy Ahlgren and Marlys Fiedler and brother Curtis Clair Eaton.

A private service for Harley will be held at a later date.  A Celebration of Harley’s life will be held at the Old Ptaceks Event Center, 1499 Orrin Road, Prescott, Wisconsin from 1pm-4pm, Thursday, May 12, 2022. Memorials are preferred to the Prescott UCC (206 Locust St N, Prescott, WI 54021) or the Prescott American Legion Poste 61, (710 Pearl St., Prescott, WI 54021).

Services are entrusted to O’Connell Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services of Prescott, www.oconnellfuneralservices.com, 715-262-5404.

 

 

 

Harley's Tribute Wall

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  • “Thank You for your service to your country, your community, and your American Legion Post 61. 76 years of continuous service to Post 61. RIP Huck