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Paul Arley Harrel

Jul 21, 1924 - Sep 7, 2017
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Paul Arley Harrel was born July 21, 1924 in Ellensburg to Arley (AV) and Ruth Harrel.  He attended school in Thorp and graduated from Ellensburg High School in 1941.  On November 3, 1946, Paul married the love of his life, Marjorie Erickson.  Paul’s life was defined by farm and family.  
 
Paul began farming at a young age, recalling irrigating when he was 10.  When he was 16 years old, he acquired 13 Hereford cows and a bull as a 4-H project, and that was the beginning of his renowned registered Hereford herd.  He built his herd over the years, showing cattle at numerous livestock shows and sales throughout the northwest and Missoula, Calgary, Red Bluff and Redding.  He shared harrowing tales of navigating snowy mountain passes with his 1951 International truck loaded with cattle.  He partnered with local cattlemen including Jim and Don Hay and John Clerf to hold an annual Cattle Show and Sale for breeding stock each year that brought buyers from throughout the United States and Canada. A treasured picture is Paul on the cover of the Washington Stockman’s Magazine in 1974 with one of his champion bulls.
 
Paul farmed land in the Thorp area with his father and expanded the farm over the years.  He farmed land he purchased in Prosser and Pasco, but realized it was too far to commute daily to irrigate.  Some of this land is now a prime wine growing area.  He also inherited from a family friend, and then expanded, land on Andy Clark Road in the Reecer Creek area.  He raised a variety of crops including potatoes, and shared stories of delivering potatoes from the potato cellar in Thorp to the Pike Street Market and downtown Seattle restaurant suppliers.  He also raised corn and hay and was involved in developing the export hay market.  Paul had a fondness for cars and driving, starting with his first fixer-upper, a Model T Ford pickup.  In 1972, Paul lost his right leg in a farming accident.  Subsequently, he dispersed his Hereford stock and focused on commercial cattle and crops, especially timothy hay.  The family farm continues to grow timothy and in 2008 held a celebration for the 100th Anniversary of Willowbrook Farms.
 
Paul and Marjorie were blessed with 5 children.  Although farming was a 7 day a week job, Paul made time for family.  Picnics in Taneum and Swauk, morel mushroom hunting, trips to Bud Dunning’s cabin to cut Christmas trees, and family holiday gatherings were some of the events that created many family memories. A highlight was an annual trip to Lake Chelan, a tradition that continues today, and which Paul was able to enjoy this past August.
 
Paul was an active member of the community.  He served on the Thorp School board.  He was a member of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, the Kittitas County Cattlemen’s Association, Washington Farm Bureau, The American Hereford Association, the Open Space Advisory Board, The Elks Club, and was a Taneum Canal Company Director.  Paul was honored, along with his father, as Kittitas Valley Cattlemen of the year in 1951. Paul was a 4-H leader for many years and supported his children and grandchildren as they participated in 4-H.  He was a devoted father and grandfather and after long days at work would manage to attend baseball games, horse shows, recitals, soccer and basketball games.   
 
Paul and Marge loved to travel with their travel trailer, enjoying being snowbirds and their Good Sam travel group.  They also traveled to the East Coast, took cruises and visited Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico. They were active in a longstanding potluck group, bridge clubs, Ellensburg Golf Club, poker club and Wildcat Investment Club.  
 
Paul remained active in farming decisions and management throughout his life. He enjoyed cruising around the farm in his red side by side ATV vehicle, checking on the crops, their growth and harvest. Paul took pride in being able to pass on an active farm, providing advice to and answering farm questions from his children right until the end.   
 
Paul is preceded in death by his loving wife Marjorie in 2015, his parents, and grandson Paul Johnsen.
 
Paul is survived by children P. Arley (Debbie); Sharon Higbee (Brad), Jan Farrell (Dan), Susan Harrel (Jeff Slothower), and Becky Snyder (Art); sister Winifred Johnson; nine grandchildren, Courtney Harrel, Brett Harrel, Connor Harrel, Ryan Johnsen, Kirk Johnsen, Molly Slothower, Sam Slothower, Savannah Snyder and Hunter Snyder and 4 great grandchildren.
 
After 93 years of a life well lived, Paul Arley Harrel, a lifetime resident of Kittitas Valley, passed away peacefully September 7 following a short illness.  In accordance with his wishes, Paul passed in the home he built, on the farm he had lived on his entire life, surrounded by family.
 
Following a private ceremony at the cemetery, a celebration of Paul’s life will be held Saturday, September 23rd at 11 am at the Mercer Creek Church, 1407 North B Street, Ellensburg, with a reception following at the church.  Donations in his honor may be made to Kittitas Valley Hospice or Kittitas County 4-H Endowment Trust Fund.  These may be sent c/o Brookside Funeral Home, 101 E 2nd Ave, Ellensburg, WA 98926.
 

 

 

Funeral Information

Funeral service

Sep 23, 2017:11:00 a.m.

Mercer Creek Church

1407 North B Street, Ellensburg WA

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Graveside

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