Obituary for Walt Harpain – Harpain’s Dairy

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Obituary for Walt Harpain – Harpain’s Dairy

Postby jjjmom » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:49 am

We lost one of Fresno's key figures that played a very important role in our history a couple of years ago. Please read this obituary for Walter Harpain. Part of my healthy body is due to drinking his award winning milk. We miss you Mr. Harpain!

Birth: Oct. 21, 1925
Fresno County
California, USA
Death: Sep. 25, 2008
California, USA

In June of 1961, Walter married his devoted and loving wife Shirley Olson and recently celebrated 47 years of marriage. A World War II veteran, he was very proud of his military service and patriotism to his country. Walt served in the 69th Infantry Division in World War II and was critically wounded in combat on February 28, 1945, near Giescheid, Germany at 19 years of age. Walt earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his meritorious achievements.

The son of a German immigrant, Walt grew up on a farm in Fresno on Cedar and Dakota Avenue. After the war, Walt returned home and over time purchased the farm from his parents and set about building a prize winning herd of registered Holsteins. Harpain's Dairy won over 55 gold medals for top quality glass-bottled milk and became famous for unforgettable chocolate milk. Walt's generosity is remembered by countless school children who toured the farm and received all the chocolate milk they could drink. A favorite memory for many in the Fresno area is the farm zoo, complete with picnic tables among shade trees and antique carriage collection. The dairy farm store was a tradition for many families who purchased their milk fresh on the farm.

Walt served on numerous dairy boards and councils including the Dairy Herd Improvement Association and California Association of Dairyman. Walt was especially proud of serving on the California Milk Advisory Board and a prior Board Chariman of the California Agricultural Museum. Walt is remembered for his decades of service in the North Fresno Chapter of Rotary and was recently named an Honorary Member. He served as President of his Western Regional chapter of the 69th Infantry Division veterans group and attended numerous state and national reunions where he made many cherished and lasting friendships.

Walt enjoyed spending time with his sons teaching them to fish in the Sierras and to duck hunt in the central grasslands of the San Joaquin Valley. He always found time to take family vacations to the coast and in his later years traveled extensively with his wife all over the United States and to Europe. Walt will always be remembered for his honesty and integrity in every aspect of his life and for how he treated others with kindness and generosity. Walt is survived by his wife, Shirley; his three sons, Ty and his wife Heidi, John and Jeff; his grandson, Wyatt Walter Harpain whom he loved, and of whom he was also very proud. He is also survived by his sisters, Rosemary Miller, Bette Tesmer and her husband Howard; brother, Elmer Harpain and his wife Mae; and many cherished cousins, nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held at Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns & Blair Funeral Home on Tuesday, September 30, 2008, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, 3973 N. Cedar Ave., on Wednesday, October 1, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. Interment to follow at Belmont Memorial Park.

*Note from admin: Newspaper clipping from 1968 for public notice of Hapain's closing for the day
Fresno Bee - Monday, July 2, 1968 - Harpain closing notice

Lost Fresno
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Re: Obituary for Walt Harpain – Harpain’s Dairy

Postby Lost Fresno » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:56 am

I never met him but I sure bought a ton of his milk. Rest in peace Mr. Harpain.

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Re: Obituary for Walt Harpain – Harpain’s Dairy

Postby Lost Fresno Guest » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:36 am

We should add this great photo of Walt Harpain from his original obit.
walt.jpg (27.71 KiB) Viewed 4583 times


Re: Obituary for Walt Harpain – Harpain’s Dairy

Postby sozo52 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:13 pm

Thank you for this! I grew up on Harpain's milk, too! We went to the dairy every Saturday. Mr. Harpain hired young men from the college to work at the dairy. I can remember going down the little road to his petting farm. Good memories!!


Re: Obituary for Walt Harpain – Harpain’s Dairy

Postby Elizabird » Fri May 20, 2016 8:49 am

Going to Harpains, down the road in, swapping out our glass bottles for the new supply for the week, and treating the kids to the best chocolate milk there ever was. The kids loved the little farm critter zoo, we all loved the high quality dairy goods, and the weekends weren't official until we'd made a Harpains run. God bless the memory of that good man.

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Re: Obituary for Walt Harpain – Harpain’s Dairy

Postby Fraulein63 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:31 pm

I loved Harpain's Dairy. My grandparents used to take me there. My grandmother never learned to drive. My grandfather (Pop) loved to let us sit on his lap and pretend to drive. This was in the late 50's and early 60's. I remember Pop's big blue DeSoto. Grandma would be so angry at Pop for letting us sit on his lap to drive. She was afraid we would get hurt and my mom would be angry at her. Pop and Grandma would buy milk and get chocolate milk for us. I remember those glass bottles and how rich and delicious the chocolate milk was. I remember the farm equipment and white fence at Harpains. Great memories of sweet times with my grandparents. Pop died in 1963 and Grandma died in 1967.
I also remember my grandparents taking us to chicken ranches to buy eggs-there was one on Ashlan near First Street.

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