Melvin Harringa

July 8, 1927 — Nov. 23, 2017


Melvin Edward Harringa was born July 8, 1927, at the family home west of Buffalo Center, the second child of Reiner and Edna (Ricks) Harringa. As a child, he attended the Methodist churches in Buffalo Center and Lakota.  His family lived on farms near Buffalo Center and Ledyard until 1938, when they settled on the family farm six miles south of Buffalo Center. Melvin attended Lakota town school and German #1 country school in rural Kossuth County until eighth grade, when he stayed home to help his father with farming.  

He met the love of his life, Ruth Thompson, at the skating rink in Lakota. On November 9, 1950, they were married at the Methodist parsonage in Blue Earth, Minn. They were blessed with eight children.  

Melvin farmed on his own for a few years and began helping out at other farms and worked at Welps Hatchery in Bancroft. When his father died in 1960, he took over the family farm, later retiring from farming and going to work on the Rock Island Railroad until 1981, when they moved to Buffalo Center. While living in town, he mowed lawns and gardened, riding his bike from lawn to lawn. He also helped his sons’ farm in South Dakota and did janitorial work at the First Baptist Church, where he often served as a deacon or trustee.

In 1960, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and was baptized at the Baptist Church in Bancroft. He enjoyed reading and hearing true stories, especially ones that involved Jesus. His favorite verse was John 3:16. A song, often a hymn, was always on his lips. His favorites included “It Is No Secret,” “Because He Lives,” and “Life’s Railway to Heaven.” He also often sang or hummed “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” He loved Jesus, potatoes and his family, always making time for them and frequently quizzing his grandchildren on math facts or asking them to read for him.

As he slowed down in his later years, he enjoyed doing the lunch dishes and passing the days with Ruth, his wife of 67 years. He died early Thanksgiving Day at home surrounded by family. Melvin will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He enjoyed his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and took an interest in their activities, jobs and families.  

Melvin is survived by his wife Ruth and eight children and 17 grandchildren: Linda and George Hertz of Altoona and their daughter Dr. Amy Hertz; Merlyn and Mary Harringa of Boone and their daughters Elizabeth (Eric) Stinaff and Sara (Matt) Hackbart; Rosemary and Delma Meaux of Bakersfield, Calif., and their daughters Shawna Terrell and Angie (Brandon) Giroir; Gloria and Dan Martens of Mesa, Ariz., and her daughters Tonya (Mark) Rasmussen, Holly Morris, Casey (Mike) Wheeler, and Dani Leigh Martens; Bruce Harringa of Toronto, S.D.; Avis and Fred Krueger of Urbandale and their sons Chris (Alyssa) Sundell, Jon Krueger, and Jeff (Hillary) Krueger; Connie and Bob Anderson of Buffalo Center and their children Kelly Ruth (Kyle) Winter, Tyler Anderson, and Jordan (Caitlin) Anderson; and Royce and Kim Harringa of Brandt, S.D., and their daughters Kayla and Krista Harringa. He is also survived by 19 great-grandchildren and two sisters, Virginia Harringa and Judy Harringa of Buffalo Center.

He was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters, and one brother; Harriet Harms, Ray Harringa, Adeline Harringa, Darlene Beresford and Marilyn Harringa; brother-in-law Ubbie Harms and sister-in-law Sue Harringa.

Online condolences may be left at


Kossuth County Advance

14 E. Nebraska St.

Algona, IA 50511  

Phone: (515) 295-3535

Fax: (515) 295-7217

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