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Harold Halfin

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August 1, 1923-March 17, 2017

Obituary for Harold H. Halfin
Harold H. Halfin, 93, of Menomonie, WI, passed away on Friday, March 17, 2017 at The Neighbors of Dunn County.

Harold Herman Halfin was born on August 1, 1923 in Dilliner, PA. He attended one-room public schools on Walnut Hill and graduated from Point Marion High School at the age of sixteen. Before entering the U.S. army he worked at a grocery store in Point Marion, PA and helped when needed in the Evergreen Cemetery. He worked in Ravenna, OH at an ordinance (shell) producing plant. He entered the Army at the age of nineteen and served three years of active duty in both the European and Asiatic-Pacific theaters in WWII. Harold joined the Army Reserve and had attained the rank of Chief Warrant Officer (W-2) when he was transferred to the Retired Reserve in March 1966. He went on the Freedom Honor Flight from LaCrosse to Washington, DC in September 2012.

After returning from the Army in 1946, he worked in a coal mine 3 miles from his home, shoveling coal, filling in where ever he was needed, and helping the blacksmith. There he learned about blacksmithing, sharpening mine augers, operating a milling machine, lathe, electric and gas welding, and the heat treatment of metal. He then started working in the mine office doing payroll, and shipping coal. His boss encouraged him to go to college. He started college on the GI Bill and continued to work at the mine on weekends and in the summers in the mine office. He also delivered U.S. mail, part-time.
On July 11, 1947, Harold married Ruby Lewis, also of Dilliner, PA, in Deep Creek, Maryland. They were married for over 67 years.

Harold earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree, with highest honor, from Fairmont State College in West Virginia and a Master of Science degree from Stout State College, Menomonie, Wisconsin. In 1973 he received his Doctor of Education degree from West Virginia University.

His professional career included teaching at Hubbard High School in Ohio, Fairmont State College in West Virginia, West Virginia University and the University of Wisconsin-Stout from where he retired in 1986 after 30.5 years.
Harold’s career at the University of Wisconsin-Stout included teaching metals classes, chairing the metals department, directing the Master of Science degree program in Vocational, Technical and Adult Education and co-chairing the Center for Vocational, Technical and Adult Education. Under his leadership in writing grant proposals, the Center received yearly research funding. He was instrumental in the development of the Education Specialist degree in Industrial and Vocational Education at UW-Stout and served as director of the program. He served as an evaluator of numerous vocational-technical school programs including programs in Taiwan and Oregon State University. On July 15, 1985, he received the “Eagle’s Award”, the outstanding service award, awarded by the Instructional Services Committee of the Wisconsin Vocational, Technical & Adult Education Administrators Association. This was the first time the award was given to an outsider.

After his retirement, he began his life as a volunteer. He gave presentations on “Volunteerism”. He demonstrated volunteerism himself by volunteering to help people with health care issues. He received the award for Dunn County Outstanding Older American from the Dunn County Office on Aging, after he served on the board and worked on health care issues by serving as a Medicare-Medicaid Assistance Program counselor. He worked with AARP, frequently gave speeches on Health Care issues, served on the Wisconsin State Legislative Committee (served 2 years as Chair), served on the National Legislative Committee, was an AARP State trainer, and served as Assistant State Coordinator for Long-Term Care. On December 11, 1989, Harold spoke at the “Medigap Insurance: Cost, Confusion, and Criminality” hearing before the Special Committee on Aging, of the United States Senate. He was on the steering committee that formed the PartnerCare Program and became a PartnerCare volunteer. He was part of the Coalition of Wisconsin Health for 2 years. In 1993, he received the H. Conrad Hoyer Award for Leadership from the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups.

Harold also volunteered with groups to improve his community. He was a member of the Pounding Fathers Group for 15 years (a group of mostly retired faculty from UW-Stout, who offered construction and handyman services to local residents and nonprofit organizations). He volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, helping build several homes. He was a member of the “Cap Carpenters”, volunteer carpenters for the Dunn County Historical Society. He was a member of the Dunn County Interfaith Caregivers (now Stepping Stones), providing food, shelter, and support to the community. He was a member of the United Methodist Church, where he organized the annual Pig Roast for several years.

Harold volunteered in many other areas, also. He was a member of the American Legion, Wisconsin Retired Educators’ Association, volunteered for the Dunn County United Way picking up donated holiday gifts, was on the Public Policy Committee of the Indianhead chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, was on the Dunn County Christmas-for-Kids program, worked for the Meals-on-Wheels program, was a Charter Member of the Kiwanis Club of Menomonie that helped the youth organizations with their recycling program at the landfill and did special recycling pickups for businesses, and served on the Menomonie (now Shirley Doane) Senior Center Board. On Feb 2, 2005, Harold received the 2004 Good Neighbor Award from the Greater Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce.

He also enjoyed time with friends. He was a member of The Poker Club, which started in 1958, until 2016 when he became too ill to continue. He occasionally enjoyed ice fishing. He caught an award winning walleye (11 pound, 10 ounce) from Lake Tainter in December 1962.

Harold was preceded in death by his wife, Ruby, on January 9, 2015; parents, Oliver Ellsworth and Pearl (Stewart) Halfin; and all of his siblings and their spouses.
His is survived by his daughter, Janet (Darrell) Quarderer, granddaughter, Jennifer (Blair) Berger, 3 great grandsons: Blake, Ethan and Aaron, and many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the staff at the Neighbors of Dunn County and St. Croix Hospice.

Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 24, 2017 at the United Methodist Church in Menomonie with Pastor Wendy Slaback officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will take place at Evergreen Cemetery in Menomonie, with military honors by the Menomonie Veterans Honor Guard.

Gifts in Harold’s memory may be made to the Harold and Ruby Halfin Scholarship Fund at the Stout Foundation, Stepping Stones of Dunn County in Menomonie, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

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