Former Belle Plaine Mayor Maynard Harms, whom a colleague called a "consummate volunteer," died of colon cancer Saturday in Belle Plaine.

The retired award-winning agriculture teacher was 77.

Harms grew up in Norwood and received his bachelor's degree in agricultural education at the University of Minnesota in 1954. He taught briefly in Canton, Minn.

For 27 years, he taught agriculture at Belle Plaine High School and served in leadership roles in civic and professional groups.

He may be best known for cofounding Belle Plaine's summertime festival, Bar-B-Q Days, 50 years ago.

When he ran for mayor, "he did not need to campaign actively, " said his daughter, Laura Herrmann of Belle Plaine. "His name in Belle Plaine spoke for itself. He could juggle so many things."

After serving on the city's Planning Commission and City Council, he served two two-year terms as mayor from 2001 to 2004.

Harms is given much of the credit for pushing the construction of the Hwy. 169 and County Road 64 interchange, completed a couple of years ago.

"He was very enthusiastic about Bar-B-Q Days," which he enjoyed leading, as well as doing the hands-on work, such as preparing the festival's signature beef sandwiches and guarding the recipe's secret ingredients, said Dawn Meyer, Belle Plaine's finance director.

Bruce Mathiowetz of New Prague, a Belle Plaine High School agricultural education instructor, said Harms won many state awards for his teaching. In 2008, many of his former students were on hand to roast him when he was inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame.

For 24 years, until 1994, he served as the manager-secretary of the Scott County Fair.

His wife, Enid, died in 1996.

In addition to Laura, he is survived by his son, Dave of Shakopee; friend Ilene Hanson of Belle Plaine; sisters Marilyn Lenzen of Chaska, and Majel Benkowski of Lester Prairie, Minn., six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in Trinity Lutheran Church, 500 W. Church St., Belle Plaine.

Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. today in Kolden Funeral Home, 219 N. Willow St., Belle Plaine, and from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday in the church.