Charles Raymond Gearhart (October 16, 2016)

Charles Gearhart photoJune 23, 1925 ~ October 16, 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016
2:00 – 8:00 PM
Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home
Harlan, IA
(get directions)
The family will greet friends from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at the Funeral Home.

Friday, October 21, 2016
11:00 AM
Immanuel Lutheran Church
Harlan, IA
(get directions)
Burial will be in the Haralan Cemetery, Harlan, IA

1 Son – Michael (Ruth) Gearhart of Kearney, NE
2 Daughters – Kathleen (Doug) Poehlman of Kansas City, MO
Denise (Tim) Arkfeld of Cincinnati, OH
2 Sisters – Shirley McDermott of Atlantic, IA
Myrna Poldberg of Harlan, IA
1 Brother – Stewart W. Gearhart of Reno, NV
2 Sisters-in-law – Shirley Gearhart of Great Falls, MT
Loretta Christensen of Kimballton, IA
9 Grandchildren
9 Great-grandchildren
Other Relatives & Friends

Charles “Charlie” Raymond Gearhart, son of Ellis Raymond and Bonnie Blanche (Kemp) Gearhart, was born on June 23, 1925, in Harlan, Iowa. He was baptized and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Kimballton, Iowa. Charles attended Center Township No. 4 country school and graduated from Harlan High School. Following graduation, Charles was very honored to serve in the United States Army from March 6, 1945 – November 28, 1946, and earned the rank of Corporal. He then served in the Army Reserves for six years as a Platoon Sergeant.

On February 16, 1951, Charles married Esther Christensen at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kimballton, Iowa. The couple celebrated 59 years of marriage.

After farming for a short time, Charles drove the Standard Oil truck for 16 years. He then worked at Agriland FS until 2000. Charles loved kids and greatly enjoyed driving a school bus for 30 years. In 2010, following Esther’s death, Charles moved to Elm Crest Retirement Community’s Assisted Living. He was an active participant in Elm Crest’s activities and was a catalyst in getting a paid chaplain on staff there.

Charles was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Harlan, where he sang in the choir for 35 years and served on the Church Council. He was also a member of the Helmer-Reyelt American Legion Post #150 and the VFW Post #941. Charles loved music and had served as a Harlan Band Parents board member. He often played his accordion for church groups and his fellow Elm Crest residents. Family was very important to him, and get-togethers, Christmas, and birthdays were special. Charles liked to play cards with friends, and was a member of the Pinochle Card Club for 35 years. Charles was known for sending greeting cards for various occasions, especially Christmas.

Charles R. Gearhart died on Sunday, October 16, 2016, at Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan, Iowa, having reached the age of 91 years, 3 months, and 23 days.

Charles was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Esther Gearhart, on September 11, 2010; one son, Wayne A. Gearhart; one grandson, Wayne J. Gearhart; three brothers; and one sister. He is survived by one son, Michael (Ruth) Gearhart of Kearney, Nebraska; two daughters, Kathleen (Doug) Poehlman of Kansas City, Missouri, and Denise (Tim) Arkfeld of Cincinnati, Ohio; two sisters, Shirley McDermott of Atlantic, Iowa, and Myrna Poldberg of Harlan, Iowa; one brother, Stewart W. Gearhart of Reno, Nevada; two sisters-in-law, Shirley Gearhart of Great Falls, Montana, and Loretta Christensen of Kimballton, Iowa; nine grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends.

The funeral service was held on Friday, October 21, 2016, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Pastor Phillip Nielsen officiating. Marge Ahrenholtz served as the organist, and Diane Kastens was the soloist. Casket bearers were Tim Ternus, Matt Moreno, Todd Arkfeld, Craig Arkfeld, Alan Poehlman, and Andrew Poehlman. Burial was in the Harlan Cemetery, Harlan, Iowa, with military rites provided by the Helmer-Reyelt American Legion Post #150 and the VFW Post #941. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan, Iowa, was in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be left online at

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7 Responses to Charles Raymond Gearhart (October 16, 2016)

  1. Mary B. Sager says:

    So very sorry to hear of your dad’s passing, Kathy. I know your parents were good friends of Clare and Rita Lyon, and you of Sandy, and know they all thought a lot of him.

  2. Pat Christensen says:

    I just heard about uncle Charles. My prayers for him and the whole family. Sorry I wasn’t able to make it to the funeral. He was a wonderful man.

  3. John and Velma Kemp says:

    My cousin Charles was a good family friend. We were in the same class in high school and enjoyed class reunions together. When I was home very sick with the red measles, he sent me a get well card. Charles had a Harley motorcycle. He was kind enough to let me ride it, so my first experience riding a motorcycle was a trip to Harlan from the Gearhart family farm. When he was in the military service, he sent letters to my parents. Although we live in Colorado, my wife, Velma, and I were very fortunate to visit Charles on October 7, 2016. He told us he sent birthday cards to many of the nursing home residents. He said: “I like to make people happy”. That was a big part of who he was.

  4. Zach Swenson says:

    Charles was one of the kindest men I have ever met. He was always nice to everyone he met and was an exemplary model of a gentleman. He spread so much joy to the residents who heard him play his accordion. He would visit residents from Elm Crest who had went to the hospital because he knew it would brighten their day and took the time to thank employees of Elm Crest by making cards for some of them. He led by example in showing what it is like to be a good neighbor and a kind soul to all.I am thankful to have known Charles, he taught me so much about being a good person and I have the utmost respect for him and his family.

  5. Tom & Linda Lund says:

    Charlie use to live and farm next to us. I remember him pulling us out of the ditch when I was just a little kid. He will be missed by a lot of people and I am one.

  6. D. Dean Philson says:

    My cousin Charles was one of a kind- they don’t make many like him anymore. A hard worker, honest & trustworthy. Seemingly gruff and hard-edged, but when you got to know him you found a gentle, considerate, thoughtful person with a heart of gold. Charley certainly disproves the old saying that “the good die young”. He will be sorely missed by everyone that knew him. Bon voyage, Charles.

  7. Mike & Lori Weisenborn says:

    Charlie drove bus for my kids- years ago. He has a very tender heart.

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