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Bill Harshman, 103, honored as grand marshal this Veterans Day; parade Saturday

Pharos-Tribune - 11/11/2023

Nov. 10—From 1942 to 1946, Logansport resident Bill Harshman served in the U.S. Army. Now 103 years old, he is being honored as the grand marshal during Logansport'sVeterans Day festivities.

Harshman was born on Sept. 28, 1920, grew up in Delphi and graduated from Delphi High School in 1939. After graduating, he said he went to Muncie to get a job because he could not find work anywhere else. He started working in a packing house and about a year later, he received "the greetings," which was what he said people called the draft letter.

"The greetings sounds really nice, but it's not," Admission Director at Miller's Merry Manor Vonda Hand said.

"It's not," Harshman replied. "'You have been chosen by your friends and neighbors to,' it was something about the army and 'we want you to show up at Indianapolis, (at) such and such a time,'" Harshman said. "So, I drove down to Indianapolis and then was sent back home for 30 days and grandma was the only one living there at Delphi then."

In the army, Harshman served in World War II at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. He served from 1942 to 1946 and said he did not like it very much.

"I quickly made PFC, because they had to have a typist right away. No one wanted to say they were going to type because they wanted to go overseas. And so, I didn't want to go overseas, so I just said 'I typed and graduated from Delphi High School,'" Harshman said. "And they came and got me and I was ushered before the general orders were memorized or anything. The sergeant said, 'We have to have you right now, typing.'"

Harshman said he also worked as a property clerk in the Civilian Conversation Corps, or CCC, in Lafayette. He then moved to Logansport after being discharged and began working at the Muelhausen Spring Co., which is now Matthew Warren Spring.

"I thought I would spend the rest of my time learning the spring business. So, it was over on Ottawa Street, the spring company and... I had an apartment at Judge Larry's old house here in Logan," Harshman said. "And so, we lived there a while and then we found a house on North 3rd Street. I could just walk to work."

In 1943, Harshman got married to Geneva Humes. He said her parents wanted to have a wedding, but he said they passed on that. Their honeymoon consisted of them taking a train to meet with some people they knew and then all driving back to Delphi.

Harshman and Humes had four children: J.C. Harshman, Joanna Rainwater, Dora Malm and Lois Johnston. He said she later passed of leukemia, and he remarried in 1958 to a woman from Star City named Rosetta Green.

"Her folks didn't like for her to go to the church she went to, so they kicked her out. So, she went to some friends that she had and I met her there," Harshman said. "And so, we started dating and then, I didn't have any children with her."

Green passed away in 2016, and Harshman retired after 33 years of working at Matthew Warren Spring. He now resides at Miller's Merry Manor in Logansport. Hand said Harshman also played the steel guitar for several years and is a pleasant man who's always smiling.

"I try to be [pleasant] because I'm not a fighter. I just try to get along and I put a smile first and see how that works," Harshman said. "If it doesn't, I take [off] running."

According to Cass County Veterans Council president Jim Stokes, Harshman won three awards and ribbons during his time in the service: the American Theatre Ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal and the WWII Victory Medal. While Harshman was selected as this year's grand marshal for the Veterans Day parade, he was unable to participate in the parade due to illness. However, Stokes said he was still honored in the parade and the Cass County Quilters presented Harshman with the quilt made for him at Miller's Merry Manor Saturday afternoon.

Harshman said he has been uptown when they are having the Veteran's Day parade. When he found out he was the grand marshal, Harshman said he was delighted. He said the parade is very organized and the speakers are chosen well.

"[The parade] represents an awful lot of misery that should be recognized and not get [shrugged] off," Harshman said. "Everybody's recognized."

VETERANS DAY PARADE INFORMATION

The parade lineup will start at 9:30 a.m. and the ceremony at the Cass County Veterans Memorial will start at 10 a.m., according to the Cass County Veterans Council. The lineup features several participants the Logansport Police Department, Indiana State Police, the Cass County Sheriff Department, the Logansport Fire Department, the Cass County Honor Guard, the Lewis Cass Marching Band and more.

The next ceremony will take place at the Cass County Government Building, followed by the program at the city building at 11 a.m.. This will feature Logansport Mayor Chris Martin, a flag raising, a performance of the National Anthem and more, according to the Veterans Council.

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(c)2023 the Pharos-Tribune (Logansport, Ind.)

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