Rodney Sylvester Harman, 89, of Morgan, MN, took his seat at God’s stadium on Sunday, May 5, 2024. A celebration of life service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Morgan. A visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, May 17 at the Nelson-Hillestad Funeral Home in Morgan. The visitation will continue on Saturday 1 hour prior to the service.  The Nelson-Hillestad Funeral and Cremation Service of Morgan and Redwood Falls are in charge of the arrangements.

Rod was born on Dec. 1, 1934, to Edgar Melvin Harman and Henrietta Van Veldhuizen at the family home in Boyden, Iowa, alongside twin brother Roger. After Henrietta died when Rod was young, he and his brothers were raised and loved by their second Mother Inez. Rod grew up on a farm outside of Lake Wilson, MN, and graduated from Lake Wilson High School in 1952.  After high school graduation, Rod joined the U.S. Navy. He married high school sweetheart Berniece Mae Ricketts on June 8, 1954. The couple lived in Seattle, Washington — where he proudly played as a pitcher and first baseman for the Navy Baseball Team — and in San Diego and Long Beach, California. They relocated back to Minnesota where Rod attended Mankato State University on the G.I. Bill and got his teaching degree. He had his first teaching job in Lake Wilson, and the couple settled down in Morgan in 1963. The couple had three children, Rhonda, Daniel and David.  Rod taught social studies at Morgan High School-Cedar Mountain from 1963 until the end of his career in 1993. During that time, he also taught driver’s education, including past his retirement, single handedly teaching every Morgan child how to drive for four-plus decades.  A passionate sports fan to his core, he coached high school football, basketball and baseball. With baseball truly running through his veins, he coached the VFW baseball teams for multiple seasons. Rod also led the summer youth activities program through the city for a handful of years, and he took it upon himself to flood the rink across from his Third Street home so the kids would have an ice rink during the winter.  Rod re-lived his glory days by bringing home multiple championships for the St. John’s Lutheran Church softball team. When his days on the field were over, he took up bowling with a group of friends.  Rod was a proud volunteer for the Morgan Fire Department and served as treasurer for a number of years.  During his retirement, Rod loved to go out in the morning to take the farmers’ money during spirited games of cards. He loved playing pinnacle, cribbage, and poker, with anyone and everyone. For decades, Rod hosted the annual Harman Boys Poker Tournament.  Rod had many passions and hobbies, specifically reading sports and history, camping with his family, watching his hundreds of westerns movies — especially anything including John Wayne — fishing, fishing, fishing and fishing in Canada.  Though he was a small town boy at heart, Rod loved to see the world and traveled as much as he could. He made multiple trips to Europe, including two World War II tours, something he insisted everyone should do at least once in their life. He also crossed off his biggest bucket list item on May 28, 2015, when he completed his tour of MLB stadiums, enjoying a game at all 30 clubs’ home fields.  More than anything else — even baseball — Rod loved his family. His family was his priority, including his in-laws at the Ricketts Farm. He was eternally proud of his family, and nothing filled him with joy more than visiting with his grandchildren and hearing about his great grandchildren.

He is survived by daughter Rhonda (Tom) Crosman, sons Dan (Kathie) and Dave (Liz); grandchildren Kevin (Eryn), Nathan, Annie (Josiah), Logan and Quinn; and great grandchildren Olivia, Brynn, Garrett, Anna, Maxx, William and Emsley; brothers Roger (June), Darold (Clarice) and Donald (Christine), and many nieces, nephews and friends.   He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Berniece, brothers James (Morel) and Leroy, and sister Melva (Dennis Aiken).