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Harold "Harry" Hartshorne Jr.

Died: Monday, October 28, 2013
Age: 95
Harold “Harry” Hartshorne Jr., a longtime resident of Lake Geneva, was born in New York City on the second day of June, 1918. He was the son of Harold Hartshorne, New York City, and Marietta Chapin, Chicago. A man of many passions, he delighted in traveling the world, collecting fine art, playing the piano, attending the opera and enjoying the beauty of his farm above Lake Geneva.

Following in his father’s footsteps, he attended Princeton University as an undergraduate, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in English in 1940. After graduating, he held a short-lived seat on the N.Y. Stock Exchange until he was drafted into the Army in 1941. At his father’s urging, he transferred into the Air Force and earned his pilot’s wings in 1943. Fluent in French, he was tapped to train French cadets to fly during the war in Alabama where he instructed them in the AT-6 trainer before they returned to the European battlefront. In recognition of his work, he was awarded a pair of honorary French Wings by President Charles DeGaulle after the war.

When World War II ended, Harry began to give thought to his next steps. “I knew I wasn’t going back onto the floor of the Stock Exchange. I knew then that my heart belonged to the country, not the city.” In the summer of 1944, he discussed his desire with his maternal grandfather to go into farming in Pennsylvania. Harry often told how five short words would change his life. A man of very few words, Chapin said, “What’s the matter with Wisconsin?” Soon, Harry moved to Lake Geneva where his farming career took flight with the purchase of 2,000 baby chicks.

With hard physical work in the field and some coursework in agriculture at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Hartshorne set out to be a Wisconsin farmer. After the chicks came the eggs, followed by sheep and cattle. The field crops were corn, oats and alfalfa. It was a way of life he quickly grew to love on Flowerside Farms, on one of the northern hills above Lake Geneva.

Harry was a man of two worlds. While his life on the farm flourished, he was also devoted to the Burroughs and Chapin Company, formed in 1912 by his grandfather, Simeon B. Chapin, and the Burroughs family. The company was founded to develop Myrtle Beach real estate. Harry sat on the board of directors of the Burroughs and Chapin Company for 50 years, from 1948 to 1998, rarely missing a board meeting.

A perfect day in Harry’s world would have included a swim before breakfast in the lake. He would spend most of the day traversing his rolling farmland in his World War II Army reconnaissance jeep, and perhaps mend a break in the perimeter brown fencing topped with creamy acorn finials. Before dinner he would sip Lagavulin while playing Gershwin, Porter and Kern tunes on the piano, with a fire blazing in one of his beautiful fireplaces. If the spirit moved him he was known to catch a last-minute flight to New York to attend a performance at the Metropolitan Opera House.

A philanthropist at heart, Harry was a benefactor of many associations, including Lake Geneva’s YMCA and Horticultural Hall, both founded by his grandfather. The Chicago Lyric Opera, Music by the Lake, the Lake Geneva Library, the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, George Williams College and Princeton University received yearly donations from Harry. He also supported a number of charitable foundations in Myrtle Beach, S.C., including the Myrtle Beach Art Museum. In addition, Harry dedicated his time to many of the organizations by sitting on their boards of directors.

A true gentleman, who enjoyed people and life to their fullest, Harry saw and embraced the world and all its changes for more than nine decades.

He passed away at 95 on the 28th of October, 2013, and was laid to rest alongside his maternal grandparents, Simeon Brooks Chapin and Elizabeth Mattocks Chapin, in the Chapin family mausoleum at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lake Geneva. May he rest in peace.

Services were at 10:30 a.m., Monday, Nov. 4, at the Church of Holy Communion, Lake Geneva, with the Revs. James Kaestner and Nancy Malloy officiating. Burial at Oak Hill Cemetery. Celebration of his life Monday, Nov. 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Horticultural Hall, Lake Geneva. The family requested memorials be made to Children’s Hospital Wisconsin Foundation-Oncology, P.O. Box 1997 MS3050, Milwaukee, WI, 53210-1997. The Steinke Funeral Home, Lake Geneva, assisted the family with arrangements. For online guest registry, go to www.steinkefuneralhomeinc.com.

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Born December 20th
1868: Harvey Firestone, industrialist and tire maker.
1881: Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
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in history
1946: Viet Minh and French forces fight fiercely in Annamite section of Hanoi.
1948: U.S. Supreme Court announces that it has no jurisdiction to hear the appeals of Japanese war criminals sentenced by the International Military Tribunal.
1960: National Liberation Front is formed by guerrillas fighting the Diem regime in South Vietnam.
1962: In its first free election in 38 years, the Dominican Republic chooses leftist Juan Bosch Gavino as president.
1963: Four thousand cross the of Berlin Wall to visit relatives under a 17 day Christmas accord. Operation Vittles: the 1948 Berlin airlift.