John Joseph Harbinson
Harbinson, John Joseph "One HELL of a guy!" December 26,1925 - August 10, 2019 John died on August 10 at the age of 93. While his mind and spirit were steadfast, his body was tired. His final weeks were filled with love, laughter, and reminiscences surrounded by family and friends. "John met his wife Marlene in bed." They never tired of the shock & laughter that sentence evoked. After John was in a car accident, Marlene was his night nurse at the hospital. They married a year later (this was pre-HIPPA). John and Marlene spent 66 years attached at the hip, thoroughly enjoying each other's company and sincerely interested in everyone they met. John was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother. He is survived by his adoring wife, Marlene; his five children, Paul (Janet), Jane (Thomas Maguire), Thomas (Carol), Mary Pat (Patrick FitzPatrick), & Betsey (Jay Woody); his eleven grandchildren, Molly Maguire (Joshua Harrod) and Shawn Maguire, Timothy (Sophie Rouhandeh), Daniel, and Joseph FitzPatrick, Matthew and Christin Harbinson, Katie and John Harbinson, and Maxwell and Bridget Woody; his sister Sheila (Jim) Palewitz; his brothers Thomas, Jerome (Christine), and Joseph (Marly); his sister-in-law Nancy; his brother-in-law Thomas (Sherlene) Ramerth; as well as other family members and many close friends. John was born to Matthew and Mary in Minneapolis, MN, the oldest of their nine children. When he was six, the family moved to Forest City, MN, where he and his siblings grew up on a farm his family inherited. He was proud to enlist and serve in the U.S. Navy from 1944-1946. After his service, he graduated from St. Cloud State College. He was appointed to the Minnesota Highway Patrol in 1951 and served in all ranks, including as Chief for seven years. After his retirement in 1985, John worked as a registered lobbyist to gain support for improving Minnesota's seatbelt laws. He served as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Seat Belt Coalition and was the State Coordinator for Operation Buckle Down. John enjoyed volunteering for Meals on Wheels for the adventures the home visits presented. Throughout his life, he was blessed with a deep and rewarding relationship with his Catholic faith. He had many interests, but none compared to his deep and playful love of his family. Marlene was the center of his world, followed by his grandchildren. His face, voice, and eyes ignited when he was around them. While he loved and appreciated his children, his grandkids sparked unparalleled joy. John loved reading, apple pie, root beer floats, Lake Miltona, and going to Bakers Square and Mancinis with Marlene. He loved people. In his last weeks, his words and actions were few but consistent. He greeted everyone he saw with some combination of I love you, you are beautiful, I am lucky, you are a good man, and thank you. He blew kisses to a few lucky women, and mysterious red blotches appeared on his forehead, remnants of the lipstick worn by his adoring healthcare aids. "Beloved patriarch" and other clichés, while true, fall hopelessly short of describing the love, affection, and respect his family will forever have for him. We are eternally grateful for the influence he had on each of our lives. Dad, Grandpa, John Boy -thank you for bringing a warm smile to our hearts. We love you and we miss you. You will always be with us in spirit. The family wishes to express their deep appreciation to the staff of The Waters of Highland Park, Health Partners, Health Partners Hospice, and Pastor David Holm for their loving care of John. We are especially grateful for Lynne and Maria for all the tender love and support they gave to John and his family. We also want to wholeheartedly thank Stephanie Berends for the unwavering professional and compassionate care and friendship she enjoyed with John. The kindness and love she showed John and continues to show our family will never be forgotten. Mass of Christian Burial 10:00 a.m. Friday, August 23 at Lumen Christi Catholic Church, 2055 Bohland Ave. St Paul, Visitation one hour prior to mass at the church. John will be buried at a private interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Alzheimer's Association Minnesota - North Dakota, 7900 West 78th Street, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55439.
Published on August 18, 2019
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