Harlan Middlebrook, 88, once of Harmony
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 5:37 AM
Harlan David Middlebrook lost his battle with Alzheimer's Disease on Feb. 2, 2013, at the age of 88.
He was born Jan. 16, 1925, in Johnson County, Ark. His parents, Roy and Della (Adkins) Middlebrook, were sharecroppers there. Facing the loss of yet another cotton crop to the boll weevil, the family moved to Iowa in the spring of 1928, where Roy's half-brother assured him he could find work. For the next 16 years, they were tenants on various farms in the Cresco and Harmony areas. Roy helped the farm owner, while Della was the housekeeper.
Harlan, with his parents, were tenants on the Arnold Brokken farm near Harmony for nine years. During these years, Harlan attended junior high and two years of high school in this area.
In 1944, with the assistance of a New Deal loan, they purchased the Otto Volkman farm in northwestern Winnishiek County and began farming on their own.
After graduating from Cresco High School, Harlan married his high school sweetheart, Wilda Jacobson, going into farming with his father in the Cresco area.
Wilda had a vested interest in the Harmony area as well, having taught in the rural school known as the Webb School in Fremont Township, Iowa, the three years preceding their marriage on June 3, 1945.
Wilda was a niece of three Harmony residents, Marie Ryan, Louise Austenson and Carl Pederson. Harlan was a regular patron of several Harmony businesses during his farming years.
Harlan and his parents first attended the Florenceville Methodist Church and then the State Line Methodist Church, where he was confirmed.
After marriage, Harlan and his wife transferred to the First Methodist Church in Cresco. In later years they joined the Zion Methodist Church on Golden Ridge.
During their farming years together, Harlan and his father purchased several additional tracts of land in Howard County. Later, he farmed together with his son, Steven, who continues the family farming tradition on Middlebrook Farms.
Harlan had been a resident of the Evans Memorial Home in Cresco since July 2008. Before entering the Evans Home, he and his wife, Wilda, had lived in Cresco Assisted Living for three years, after moving there from their country home of 60 years, located northeast of Cresco.
Harlan is survived by his wife, Wilda; his sons, Kevin, Rodney, Steve and Boyd; and eight grandchildren, Jeb, Lindsay, Lia, Drew, Hanna, Mariel, Ariann and Sophia.
Preceding him in death were his infant daughter, Melissa Kay, in 1949; his father in 1989 and his mother in 1993.