Harold Harper, 1938-2015

Harold A. Harper died Dec. 8, 2015, at his home in Eaton, Colo, He was 77.

He was born Aug. 12, 1938, in East St. Louis, Ill., to Howard and Betty (Carter) Harper. Harold grew up in Indiana, working on the family farm. He was a 4-H member, where his interest in sheep and cattle developed. Harold was a champion sheep shearer and that skill paid his way through Purdue University.

Harold served the livestock industry in Iowa and Nebraska before finding his home in Colorado. It was there that he fulfilled his lifelong dream of owning and operating a lamb feedlot. Together with his wife and three children, Harold built a reputation as one of the largest lamb feeders in the nation and the world.

Before achieving that accomplishment, Harper worked at Rath Packing Co. in Waterloo, Iowa. He then worked for Wilson Packing in Omaha, Neb., before he was transferred to Denver. He and his family moved to Eaton in 1974, and he co-owned Mile High Sheep Co. with Don Godby and Ivan Collins until 1978. Harper and Godby both worked at Wilson Packing, but managers within the company thought owning another sheep-related business was a conflict of interest, so they let the pair go.

“He would say it was the best thing that ever happened,” Mike Harper said.

After he was let go, Harper sold his share of Mile High Sheep and purchased the land that is now Harper Feedlot.

Harold received numerous awards – including ASI’s McClure Silver Ram – and was always a reputable industry leader.

Harold was an active supporter of industry organizations and a 50-year Noble member of the Shriners.

He is survived by his wife, Judy; children, Jeff and Jackie (Harper) Matz and their children Andrew and Caroline of Denver; Mike and MaryAnn Harper and their children Catherine, Emily and Madeline of Eaton; and Diane (Harper) Grossenbacher and her children Eli and Peter of Eaton.

Memorial contributions can be made to Meals on Wheels in care of Allnutt Mortuary, 702 13th Street, Greeley, CO 80631.

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