Cover photo for Gary L. "Rusty" Harter's Obituary
Gary L. "Rusty" Harter Profile Photo
1939 Gary 2024

Gary L. "Rusty" Harter

July 25, 1939 — January 12, 2024

Gary L. “Rusty” Harter joined the love of his life, Louise Keesling on Friday, January 12th at 5:55 p.m. Rusty, the eldest child of Paul H. and D. Helen Jones Harter was born a sweltering day on the 25th of July, 1939, (we are guessing since those who knew are no longer with us and the weather records on google don’t go back that far) and he died on a cold, wet and icy winter’s day, (we know this, we were there). The birth and death dates of this man, our father, however, are not nearly as relevant as all the days and nights that he lived to the fullest between those two dates.

His father and then his mother left this world followed by their youngest, Pam and middle child, Larry and then Rusty. He is survived by his five children: Scott, Skip, Shawn, Ginger and Shannon. His grandchildren: Carla, Shelley, Garrett, Justin, Es, Corey, Olivia and Max and his great-grandchildren: Rune, Vincent, Lennon, Demi, Lyle and Toby. Along with every stray cat east of the railroad tracks in Mt. Summit.

Rusty was a man with many hats in his lifetime: a husband and a father, a friend, a barber, an umpire, a coach, an actor, an optimist, a justice of the peace, a banjo player, a military man, a flirt, a showman, a painter, a woodworker, an outdoorsman, and so much more.

During his time at Mt Summit High School, Rusty loved acting. The leading man most often with his high school sweetheart as the leading lady because she wasn’t having anyone else kiss her man! He graduated from Mt. Summit in 1957 and remained good friends with many of his classmates for a lifetime.

Dad was able to raise the roof of his home during an afternoon nap, all the while saying he was reading his Louis L’Amour book and watching a football game. His uncanny ability to have flatulence on-demand or simply while walking into the living room for a family picture. Not sure if this was on purpose or not but everyone laughed until we cried. This was a running joke in our family, remember the “Fart Book.”

Rusty enjoyed the theatre both attending shows to applaud his children. He told us he was one of the original members of First Nighters. He was also quite a dancer and attended many Military Balls will his forever love, Louise. They were also part of a square-dancing troop called the Sutton Strutters.

Rusty enjoyed smoking & booze (for a time), guns and westerns. He loved the community of camping in one place at the Prairie Creek Campground where he had good friends and good times. He also loved to participate in the 4th of July boat parade on Muncie Reservoir, boating and fishing with his children, grandchildren, friends and family. He even volunteered for the triathlon once…not to be in it, but to sit in the boat.

Rusty served for 25 years in the Indiana National Guard in New Castle and Anderson, Indiana as a major, with his last position with the Guard as an auditor at Stout Field in Indianapolis. During this time, he enjoyed frequenting American Legions between work and home more often than not and being the one everyone loved to see walk in…here’s to another round on Rusty.

Later in his retirement you would see him wearing his beloved bib overalls for easy access to what he needed to access or be adjusted. The multiple pockets allowed for keeping important items close at hand like a carpenter’s pencil, a utility knife, a hanky and the like. He enjoyed tinkering in his barn. Making things with his children and for his grandchildren-from birdhouses, cradles, carnival games to a rocking horse.

After the age of seventy, our dad found new confidence in saying what he wanted, when he wanted and to whom he wanted usually in the presence of one of his children. I remember once at Olive Garden our waitress walks up to take an order: “What can I get ya!” Dad: How about a back rub! Or he would give them a hard time about not have French onion soup on the menu! One unique thing about dad was he always tipped in $2 bills.

Only Rusty Harter could drop his drawers while walking up to the top of a mountain in Gatlinburg, TN in the presence of the cashier and his travel companion and gal pal, Cindy Norris. I am sure there are many other stories as well.

He loved watching girls basketball at Blue River but especially loved watching the Volleyball team. They all called him Pappy and he loved it.

One of his favorite snacks was popcorn and cheddar cheese but of late, it was oreos and oatmeal cookies and a glass of milk or a cold diet pepsi. He also loved visits from Vinny and sharing his M & M’s with him. Dad loved watching Vinny try to catch one of his stray cats.

He loved listening to country and bluegrass music. At one point, he asked to be propped up by the Jukebox with a beer in his hand when he died. Thanks. Joe Diffie! Sorry, Dad!

Even in his last hours of his life, he kept his sense of humor and winking at the nursing staff at the Willows. He would kid with them and give them a gentle smile. They loved him like their own father or grand-pappy. The care he received at the Willows was outstanding and we will be forever grateful to them.

Services will be held at 1:00 pm Saturday, January 20, 2024 at Hinsey-Brown Funeral Service in New Castle with his children along with Pastor Ken Durham officiating. Burial will follow at Mt. Summit Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4:00 pm -7:00 pm on Friday, January 19 at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be given to the Henry County Humane Society, 11 Midway Dr., New Castle, IN 47362. You may express condolences or share memories of Rusty at www.hinsey-brown.com .
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Friday, January 19, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Saturday, January 20, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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