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My dad died Thursday at the age of 80, and he’d lived a long life and shared many experiences with many people in those eight decades.

Dad was a storyteller, and I guess that trait was passed along to me. I just do it a little differently than he did. He told jokes and tales of years ago; I write.

Our goal, though, has always been the same: Educate them and entertain them at the same time. Dad loved to tell funnies, and he’d call from time to time just to share one with me. He did that with a lot of people. Here’s one I’d like to share from the mid-1980s:

Mom, Dad, Shelly and Tori were living in New Orleans. They loved to go to a certain club on Monday nights, and as I spent time with them the summer of 1985, I went with them. It was a lingerie show that allowed audience members to tell jokes. Oftentimes, we had a large gathering, with friends all gathered around a big table taking in the show and waiting for Dad to take his role on stage.

I was 18 years old, and it seemed a little strange to be partying with my parents. But I was watching mostly naked women while drinking alcohol for which my parents were paying. Yeah, it got un-strange in a hurry.

Dad was in his world, too. He took his best material from Readers Digest and Playboy magazine on stage and loved being the center of attention. More importantly, he loved to see the reactions people had when he told one of his funnies. He lived for it, really.

He touched a lot of lives in his 80 years. I hope I can say the same.

Wilbur Dean Harbin
February 18, 1932-October 4, 2012

Wilbur Dean Harbin of Leoti, Kan., died Thursday, October 4, 2012. He was 80

Dean was born Feb. 18, 1932, in Mutual, Okla., to Wilbur Mitchell and Nellie Blanche (Scates) Harbin. They preceded him in death.

A 1950 graduate of Mutual High School and a 1951 graduate of Midwest Business College in Pueblo, Colo., Dean worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, then the Union Pacific Railroad, from 1951-1988. He served during the Korean Conflict in the U.S. Army from 1952-54.

On July 5, 1956, Dean married Dorothy Beatrice Summers at the First United Methodist Church in Leoti. She preceded him in death in May 2000. The couple lived in Modoc, Kan.; Leoti; St. Joseph, Mo.; Houston; Texarkana, Texas; and New Orleans before returning to Leoti in 1988 upon Dean’s retirement. The couple had three children, Michael Dean, June 27, 1957; Shelly Joan, July 25, 1962; and Mitchell Ted, June 1, 1967.

He was active in the Benevolent and Protected Order of the Elks in Texarkana; Masonic Lodge of Scott City, Kan.; Veterans of Foreign Wars; Leoti Emergency Medical Services; the Wichita County Fair; and Leoti United Methodist Church. He was also a supporter of Wichita County High School activities.

Dean is survived by his children, Michael Dean Harbin and his wife, Alicia, Westminister, Colo., Shelly Joan (Harbin) Graff and her husband, Steve, of Leoti, and Mitchell Ted Harbin and his wife, Lynette, of Maryville, Mo.; 11 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren.

Services will be 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, at the Leoti United Methodist Church. Memorials may be made to the Dorothy Harbin Memorial Scholarship.


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