Harold Grant Varble, son of Grant and Stella Hesker Varble, was born December 29, 1923, near Lebanon, Missouri. He departed this life Monday, April 3, 2017, in Bradford Court, in Nixa, Missouri, at the age of ninety-three years, three months, and four days.
On January 20, 1950, he was united in marriage to Ruth Mitchell, and to this union one son and one daughter were born.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ruth, on February 10, 1973; a brother, John Varble, and his wife, Eva; and two sisters, Georgia Shadel, and her husband, Wallace, and Gertrude Davis, and her husband, Frank.
Harold is survived by a son, Dennis Varble, and his wife, Barbara McMahon, of Kansas City, Missouri; a daughter, Denise Stowe, of Nixa, Missouri; a grandson, Michael Stowe, and his wife, Leah, of Ozark, Missouri; a granddaughter, Malissa Gray, and her husband, Charlie, of Nixa, Missouri; two great-grandchildren, Madison and Gracie Gray; several nieces and nephews; his longtime friend and companion, June Sumner, and her extended family of Springfield, Missouri; as well as a host of other relatives and friends.
He was born and raised in Laclede County, Missouri, and graduated from Lebanon High School in the Class of 1941. He then went to work in St. Louis, Missouri, where he enlisted in the Navy on December 13, 1942. He served in the 5th Special Naval Construction Battalion, Detachment 1056. He received his Naval training at the Naval Construction Training Center at Camp Allen, in Norfolk, Virginia and at Camp Peary, in Williamsburg, Virginia.
During his four years of service, he received the American Area and Asiatic Pacific ribbons and Good Conduct and Victory medals. He was a veteran of both the Aleutian and South Pacific Campaigns, and was stationed in Adak, Alaska. In February of 1944, his battalion returned to Seattle and boarded the USS Lexington for transport to San Francisco before going to the South Pacific. His second tour of duty took him to the Asiatic Pacific, where he was stationed in various locations including, New Caledonia, Espirtu Santo, and Guadalcanal, on his way to the Philippines. He was inducted into the Ancient Order of the Deep, crossing the equator while on board the USS Sea Bass on March 15, 1945, as they marched to Tokyo. After the war ended, he remained in the Asiatic Pacific until 1946, when he was honorably discharged.
Harold returned to Lebanon, where he worked on his family’s farm until he and Ruth were married. They then made their home on their farm near Lebanon, and lovingly raised their family. Harold began a career at Detroit Tool Engineering as a machinist, from which he retired after forty-one years. Following Ruth’s passing, he moved into town, where he carved out and tended a large garden plot that produced far more vegetables than he could consume. This allowed his family and neighbors to keep their grocery bills in check during the harvest season.
He was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and in 2012, he and his brother, John, were honored as longtime members of the V.F.W. Post # 4107.
Harold was indebted to the Navy for allowing him to travel to parts of the world he would never have seen otherwise. Although he never spoke directly about his experiences during the war, his travels provided him with years of material for the tales he told his children and grandchildren.
The Varble family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the caring staffs of Bradford Court Assisted Living and Phoenix Hospice for the care he received.
Harold was a loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and was a caring neighbor and friend. We celebrate his life and his accomplishments and know that he will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by all those who knew and loved him.