We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Herman-Taylor Funeral Home
Carl H. Harmsen, 90, of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin passed away on September 5, 2022 at Arborview Court.
A funeral service for Carl will be held at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, October 16, 2022 at Herman-Taylor Funeral Home in Wisconsin Rapids. Pastor Jenny Hatleli will officiate. Visitation for family and friends will begin at 1:00 p.m. until the service time on Sunday at the funeral home. Burial will be at Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery.
Carl Harmsen was born on August 3, 1932, and spent his childhood between his parents’ farm in Adams County and his father’s metallurgy shop in Wisconsin Rapids. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1950. In his 20s he was an avid biker, tinkering with motorcycles and taking cross-country road trips with his gang. He attended vocational school and served in the United States Army 149th Tank Battalion Division from 1953-1955 in Munich, Germany.
Upon his return, he enrolled in college, working his way through a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering (graduating with honors) and a master’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
During that time, he met Beverly, the love of his life. They married and started a family, eventually having four children. In his career he had several roles, including a manager of metallurgical research, corporate trouble shooter for nuclear power plants, and development engineer, which included a stint in Italy, managing a large-scale ship building project. He invented and holds a patent for a device related to electric arc welding.
One of his ongoing projects has been the cabin he built in Hatfield, WI, including several subsequent additions, after having cleared the land himself. Together with Beverly, he started and ran a successful business for five years, The Essex House, a modern rooming house that served families who needed a place to stay while their loved ones were receiving organ transplants at the University of Minnesota Hospital.
In his last professional assignment, he worked in electrical power plant construction for Northern States Power Company in Minneapolis, MN, retiring in 1988. His second career included being a community organizer for the sewer district in Hatfield, and construction manager or committee member for several community projects in Black River Falls, WI including: a business incubator building, a church expansion, and a skilled care home.
In his retirement, he lived seasonally in Arizona and Florida, always congregating in the same neighborhood as his Wisconsin friends. He put thousands of miles on several campers, as he adventured across the country, often to visit the kids. He rode his bicycle eight miles every day, into his 80s. He also remodeled 13 bathrooms for family members and rebuilt 22 cars including Toyotas, Fords, Chryslers, and more. He maintained a full metallurgy shop until his death. He was curious, smart, and always challenging himself with new projects.
His later years were marked by caring for Beverly and her health challenges and fostering friendships in every aspect of his life. He met his friends for breakfast most mornings, energized his neighbors with weekly wine-by-the-fire get-togethers and organized Friday night fish dinners for large groups. He was a Danish-Norwegian Lutheran who was kind, believed in the golden rule, enjoyed rich, lifelong friendships, and connected with people wherever he went. His legacy is his model of a full life, well-lived, and well-loved. He impacted everyone he connected with and will be missed terribly.
Herman-Taylor Funeral Home is honored to be assisting the family.
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