Harold John Eaton was born on October 23rd, 1931 at the family farm in Norwood, Iowa. His parents were John William Eaton and Ardys Marjorie Primm. He grew up with an older sister, Lydia Eleanor and a younger brother Richard Earl. He helped his father on the farm.
He attended grade school and junior high at the rural school in Norwood. He went to Chariton High School, where he graduated in 1950.He was drafted into the US Army in 1952. He served in the Army from September 1952-August 1954. Harold spent around 11 months in Korea. He never really talked much about his time in the Army. One story he did tell was how the unit he was with, befriended a little Korean girl. The soldiers would give her candy from the states. Upon being discharged from the Army, Harold’s father was beginning to become ill. So Harold took over the farming operations. When his father passed away, Harold looked after his mother until she passed away.
In December 1967, Harold traveled to Tampico, Mexico for the wedding of Don and Lucy Hobbs. That trip to Mexico would change his life forever. While on the trip, he met the love of his life, Angela (Gela) Szymanski. They wrote a lot of letters to each other after he left Mexico. She came to Iowa to visit in the summer of 1968. Harold traveled to Tampico in December 1968. While on that trip, he proposed to Gela. They had a short 3 week engagement. They were married January, 11th 1969 at the San Jose Catholic Church in Tampico, Mexico by Gela’s brother, Bishop Arturo Antonio Szymanski. Harold also became a Catholic during this trip.
The couple returned to Iowa to begin their married life together on the farm. Harold and Gela were the parents of two daughters, Christina Marjorie and Angela Myrle. He was very proud of his two daughters and his 6 grandkids : John, Tommy, Emma, William, and Eli Donahey and Wyatt Evans. He was lovingly known as “Papa” by all of his grandkids.
Harold spent most of his life farming. He raised hogs, cattle and chickens. He especially enjoyed raising chickens, and often had several exotic breeds. There was usually at least 1 dog and a bunch of cats on his farm as well. Harold worked at Lucas Products for a while and also at Wal-Mart in Indianola.
Gela passed away in November 2004. Harold stayed in their farmhouse for 9 years following her death. In the fall of 2013, Harold moved to South Gate Apartments in Chariton. He made lots of friend at South Gate. In the evening, he could often be found down in the community room playing hands of pitch and games of BINGO and Aggravation.
Harold had a great smile and sense of humor. He liked to tease people in a friendly way. He had two very special people that helped him out. A big thanks to Pat Thompson for taking him to Mass and to the grocery store. Another big thanks to Bob Scheve for regularly taking him to doctor’s appointments and on many outings. Both of them had a very special place in Harold’s heart.
Harold’s health and spunk began to decline in July 2018 when he was put on oxygen. He was in and out of the hospital several times from July 2018 until January 2019. He took his last breath on January 24, 2019 at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines.
He was a wonderful father, Amazing Grandpa, and a Great Friend.
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