Gardening 01

Calvin E. Harbin

March 26, 1916 ~ April 19, 2020 (age 104)


Calvin E. Harbin

Calvin E. Harbin, 104, Hays, passed away on April 19, 2020 at his home in Hays, Kansas.

He was born March 26, 1916 in Puxico, Missouri, the son of Samuel and Ada (Shelton) Harbin.  Calvin grew up on the farm and while in his senior year of high school in 1934, he was a substitute teacher for the sixth grade class of Kinder Rural School.  He also attended Southeast Missouri College at the same time.  In 1937, Calvin moved to California as a law student, and eventually purchased the law firm he was working at from his mentor Judge William S. Marks.  In July of 1941, Calvin volunteered for military service in the United States Army, and was sent to Officer Candidate School.  In 1943, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and recruited for a special mission unit.  Starting in 1944, Calvin took seven trips across the Atlantic Ocean, and on one of the missions his ship was torpedoed on Thanksgiving Day.  Luckily he was one of the survivors.  On June 26, 1947, he was united in marriage to Dorothy Comoh at St. Mary’s Catholic Greek Rite Church in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and they celebrated 66 years of marriage before she preceded him in death on June 26, 2013. 

Calvin later went on to earn his Master’s Degree at Nashville’s Peabody College and his Doctorate at the University of Missouri.  In 1952, he and his family moved to Hays to begin a one-year teaching position at Fort Hays State University, which ended up as a 30-year career because he enjoyed both the town and university.  His career consisted of being the Dean of Education and the very first Special Assistant to the President.  He took a sabbatical leave in 1963, and while on leave at Harvard University, he authored his first book, Teaching Power.  The publisher deemed it a book of lasting value.  Calvin retired from Fort Hays State University in 1981, and continued serving the Dane G. Hansen Foundation in Logan, where he authored his second book, The Grandest Mission on Earth. 

Calvin served as a teacher, a law counselor, an author of poems, hymns, articles, and books, and retired as a Colonel in the United States Army.  He enjoyed gardening, kept his mind busy and sharp, and will be remembered for helping start the Hays Senior Service Center and the Senior Companion Program, but mostly for loving his family.  He lived for his family and grandchildren, and was very proud of the care his son gave him in the later years of his life.

Survivors include a son; Ed Harbin (Terri Lenser) of Hays, two daughters; Mary Solecki of Olathe and Ruth Harbin Miles (Sam) of Madison, WV, seven grandchildren; Paul Solecki (Ankica), Kevin Solecki (Kara), John Solecki (Amy), Patrick Solecki, Jeremy Harbin, Jill Davis, and James Harbin (Theresa), and eight great grandchildren; Braden Davis, Riley Davis, Logan Calvin Davis, Emily Davis, Calvin West Harbin, Colton Harbin, Clara Solecki, and Joseph Calvin Solecki.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife; Dorothy, six brothers; James “Jimmy”, George, Joseph, Ellis, Wayne, and David Harbin, and two sisters; Ruth Olmstead and Ella Robertson.

A private family burial with military honors by the Hays VFW Post #9076 Honor Guard will be in St. Joseph Cemetery.  A public celebration of Calvin’s life will be scheduled and announced at a later date.  Memorials are suggested to Hospice of HaysMed or to the Senior Companion/Foster Grandparent Program, in care of Hays Memorial Chapel Funeral, 1906 Pine Street, Hays.  Condolences and memories of Calvin may be shared with the family at

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