Breckenridge Texan

Bob Harbison

Bob Harbison
January 20
18:16 2021

Bobby Hilton Harbison was born on June 24, 1925, in Stephens County, Texas, and passed away on January 2, 2021, in North Richland Hills, Texas, at the age of 95. Graveside services will be held on Thursday, January 28, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. at the Clear Fork Cemetery in Stephens County, Texas, under the direction of Melton-Kitchens Funeral Home.

He is survived by his daughters, Rhonda Hurtik and husband Joe, and Pamela Whitlock and husband Scott; grandchildren, Clay Hurtik, Erik Whitlock and fiancé Chesare Barnes, Colin Hurtik, and Hayley Whitlock Bragg and husband Justin; and sister, Jack Harbison.

Bob was preceded in death by his loving wife, Billie Jo Smith Harbison; his parents, Alec and Emily Harbison; and sisters, Hazel Sullivan, Erma Tubbs, and Vera Tindall; and brother, Dale Harbison.

After being raised on a farm in Stephens County and learning the lessons of a strong family and hard work, Bob served in the U.S. Navy for 11 years from his date of entry into active service in 1943 at the age of 17, through his Honorable Discharge date in 1954, serving during World War II through the Korean War (USS RENDOVA.)

After his military service, he married Billie Jo Smith on April 22, 1952, and they raised two daughters, Rhonda and Pam, in a very loving home. Bob adored Billie Jo, and she loved and spoiled him. Their marriage created a strong foundation for a close, happy family and left a strong legacy. “Gramps” was happiest when he was with his family. He taught us that a family who works and plays together, stays together. Family was his greatest love and treasure, and we respected and deeply loved him.

Bob Harbison was the most hardworking man we have ever known, with an endless amount of energy, as he was always working on a project which could always be better in his eyes! He didn’t do things half-speed, he instead went full throttle until the job was done! After “modifying” his tools to make them better, he could be found working on his wooden clocks and metal yard work. His friends’ and families’ homes boast many of his excellent art works and creations, leaving all that knew and loved him lasting memories. Bob had knowledge and skills in every trade and was a great supervisor and educator, always willing to teach anybody everything he knew.

One of his greatest passions was our family lake house at Possum Kingdom Lake, which he built along with his brother, Dale. He put his heart and soul into “PK” for his family and friends to enjoy and left us with such wonderful memories. If you went there, you would always hear the sounds of saws, drills, welders, and torches going full blast, with him working on some project. After a hard day’s work, Bob could often be found fishing at the boathouse with his secret “dough bait” recipe.

Everyone who knew Bob, knew he was a “talker,” and he especially liked telling stories of his Navy years, his retail manager experiences at Sears and JC Penney, and other life stories which were usually pretty humorous.

Bob fought valiantly through two wars, his precious wife’s death, several different cancers, and a life-threatening surgery, which resulted in a month-long coma, but he prevailed and later bravely continued the fight against COVID-19 complications, until the end.

Bobby Hilton Harbison was a great man, from an incredible generation, a “one-of a-kind” who will be deeply missed by all who knew him. We love you, Gramps.

“Rest easy, Sailor. We have the watch. Fair winds and following seas.”

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