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William Harber

December 17, 1926 November 25, 2020
William Harber
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Obituary for William Harber

William Harber died November 25, 2020 at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. He was 93 years old. William was born on December 17, 1926 in Alameda, California to parents, Alice (nee Miller) and David Harber.

His family moved to Eugene, Oregon sometime in his early youth. He starred in baseball and football as a youth and in High School. He also enjoyed camping, fishing and riding his bicycle in the forests, lakes and mountains around Eugene.

He often told stories about going camping and fishing with his friends Bill "Hutch" Hutchinson, Jim Lucky and Jack Faust.

In 1944 Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy while he was still in high school and served as a bubble gunner in a PBY Catalina patrol plane. He earned expert marksmanship awards in yielding his twin .50 caliber machine gun on the side of the plane. Stationed in Melbourne Beach, Florida, Bill served from 1944 through the end of 1945. His patrol squadron flew missions along the Florida coast and in the Gulf of Mexico searching for German submarines and ships.

1946-1952. Bill attended the University of Oregon on the GI Bill. Yes, he took six years to get through college. He graduated with a degree in architecture. He took one winter semester off and served as a ski-bum at Sun Valley Ski Area in Idaho. He was also president of his fraternity house.

1953. Upon graduation from University of Oregon, Bill accepted a job with Kaiser Aluminum as a sales man for their Northwest Ohio area.

1954-1959. Bill lived in Toledo, Ohio and Birmingham, Michigan. During this time, he met and became lifelong friends with Tom Symons, Everett Kircher, Chuck Moll, and Bill Winchester. The five of these gentlemen formed a hunting and fishing camp that started in the Grayling area known as the North Woods Club. This hunting camp later moved to Boyne Highlands for many years. This hunting camp started in the 1950s and continues to this day in the second and third generations.

Bill enjoyed skiing, fishing, and golf during these years. In the early years of Boyne, Bill had many stories of leaving Friday from Toledo, picking up Tom Symons in Saginaw, and driving up north to Boyne Mountain in Tom’s car, blasting through many small towns with an open six pack and a couple of tins of sardines - even burying the nose of the car one time in a drift at the bottom of the Elmira hill.

Once at Boyne, they met up with Everett Kircher and his pals there.

Many stories again in the fledgling days of Boyne, socializing with the single set, letting their jars of martinis get cold by icing them down in the snow drifts outside the original Boyne lodge.

In 1958 Bill married Margaret Ann Harber of Toledo, Ohio.

1959. Matthew C. Harber, first child was born.

1961. Jonathan D. Harber, second child was born.

1964. William M. (Bill) Harber Jr., number 3 was born.

1966. Megan M. Harber, child number 4 was born.

1964 – 1988. Bill worked with Star Steel Supply and the Burton Company. At the Burton Company, they made aluminum siding and accessory products.

In 1988, Bill left the Burton Co. and formed Caliber Metals with his two partners, Andy Ligda and Ned Cavallaro. Caliber Metals manufactures galvanized steel and aluminum roofing accessory products and some metal framing products. Bill managed Caliber Metals until he retired shortly after his 90th birthday. Caliber had a 90th birthday party for Bill. Several local customers came by and paid tribute to this steel magnate! He saw the company expand their product line from metal roofing accessory products to steel and drywall framing products. He helped lead the growth of the company from $3M annually to $7M per year, currently.

Throughout his life, Bill was active in Trout Unlimited, Holy Name parish, and Oakland Hills Country Club.

Bill loved flyfishing, and participating in the Trout Unlimited chapter river reclamation projects with his friends and fellow club members John Marsh, Jim Zyla, Julio Mazzoli and Bill Womack among many others.

Bill also enjoyed playing golf in the Tuesday night men’s league at Oakland Hills Country Club. He was well known for his graciousness and comradery. He also had a great time taking his grandchildren out on golf carts after summer holiday dinners at “the club.” He also enjoyed taking them on exploratory trips throughout the cavernous basement and empty upper-story hallways of Oakland Hills and playing hide and seek.

Bill enjoyed golf, flyfishing, walking his dogs, visits from his children and grandchildren and Canadian Club Manhattans, but his favorite drink remains a cold beer.

In the last years of his life Bill was well cared for by his wife, Peg, and his daughter Megan. He continued to attend mass at Holy Name Church until he was 93 years old.

Bill is survived by his wife of many years, Peg, and his children, Matthew, Jonathan (fiancée Sandy), William, Jr. (Rae Marie), and Megan. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Nicholas, Connor, Vivian, Isabelle, and William III and his sister Marilyn Wolf, and many nieces and nephews. Bill is preceded in death by his brother, the late Dr. James Harber and several dogs, all springer spaniels, all named either Fancy, Velvet or Susie.

Visitation will be on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 from 3-7pm at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home 1368 N. Crooks Road, Clawson, Michigan. A private Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Holy Name Catholic Church on Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 10am. For those who wish to watch the live stream follow this link:

Memorials appreciated to the SEED Foundation c/o Holy Name 630 Harmon, Birmingham, Michigan 48009.


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