Michael “Mike” Harmon, Sr.

Michael “Mike” Lee Harmon, Sr., 73, of Rapid City, SD, beloved father, grandfather, friend and relative, passed away peacefully and surrounded by loved ones at his summer cabin on Blue Lake, MN in the early hours of June 23rd.

He was born in Carrington, North Dakota, on October 13, 1947 to Ralph L. Harmon and Aryls Harmon (nee Skadberg). Mike loved adventure and took every opportunity to follow his passion – working at Yellowstone National Park, traveling throughout Europe, teaching skiing in Aspen, Colorado, driving his Land Rover the length of Baja, Mexico with sister, Joan, in the early 70s.

After this life of adventure, he met his life partner, Lauren Lee Moran, and they settled on a farm near the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi. This is where they raised their family of six children surrounded by meadows, pine trees, and plentiful gardens and animals. They lived a back-to-the-land lifestyle devoid of the modern amenities such as electricity and running water but in harmony with the ecosystem they were a part of. Here they milled the logs to build their log home, set up a gravity flow water system, installed wood cooking and heating stoves, and lived a rich, simple life with their children and animals. His life’s work focused on sustainability, caretaking the land for decades by farming organically and selective thinning the forests for optimal health and fortitude.

In the next chapter of his life, Mike relocated to Mission, South Dakota where he began his life as a retiree. He stayed active in life – taking care of his grandchildren; advising his children in their business ventures as well as local entities on issues of sustainability and land management, and rediscovering his passion for gardening, sailing and travel.

Mike always lived life to its fullest – wintering at Pleasant Lake in Arizona where he sailed at every opportunity, traveling the country in his Mercedes RV, and at the family retreat on Blue Lake near Park Rapids, Minnesota. Mike was a true renaissance man – he loved many things, his family first and foremost, but also keeping up with world events and politics, discussing philosophy and sharing ideas—especially regarding issues of sustainability, music and community supported radio (public radio was always on if Mike was around), cooking, and tinkering & inventing things to make life easier for himself and those around him.

He is survived by his children, Michael, Damien, Dominic, Abel, Serena and Ellen; grandchildren, Phoenix, Forrest, Kiyan, Shaiya, Cassius, Kowen, and Kale; and his siblings, Jane, Kitty, Joan, Jim, Tom and Anne; his many nieces, nephews and friends. He was proceeded in death by his father, Ralph and Aryls Harmon; life partner Lora Harmon; and brother, Paul.

There will be a celebration of life held for him at the Blue Lake retreat at 17150 Halfmoon Rd, Park Rapids, MN, on Saturday, July 3rd at 4:00 pm where all friends and family are welcome. Donations in his honor can be made to The Boys and Girls Club of Rosebud, SD, the National Audubon Society or to your local NPR station.

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