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Andrew “Andy” Guy Richard Harter of Readlyn, Iowa.
A life cut short, but a life well lived.
Andy took his first breath at 10am, on April 28, 1978,in Valentine, NE; and his last breath at 11:40 p.m. on August 3, 2023, in Fort Myers, FL, in the arms of his wife of 20+ years.
Andy was a husband, a proud father, a big brother, a friend, a teacher, a coach, a teammate, a self-proclaimed part-time optimist, a sports fan (all sports, except those sports he didn’t consider “sports”), a small-town guy, a referee, a fan of road-trips and movie quotes, a lover of history, a life-long learner, and a fighter of ALS. He was sarcastic, witty, earnest, intelligent, kind, funny, humble, strong, caring, wise, grateful, and brave. Are there any adjectives I’ve missed to describe this one-of-a-kind guy? He would say, definitely, you forgot “handsome and tall”.
Andy graduated from Wapsie Valley High School in 1996. After his “nothing but net” basketball playing days at Wapsie, Andy attended the University of Northern Iowa. While at UNI, Andy studied history and education. After graduating UNI in 2000 he began his career as an educator in the halls, gyms and cross country courses at Riceville, Dunkerton, Sigourney and Waterloo Hoover. Andy always had a passion for teaching and coaching kids, especially the awkward, moody, hormonal, stinky teenagers. He respected the kids he taught and in turn they respected him (most of the time). During most of his career Andy taught history and was often thought of as the “favorite teacher” at school, despite being known as “Homework Harter”. Towards the end of his career, Andy taught special education and retired from teaching in February 2023 at Waterloo Hoover, which he loved. His last teaching moments came full circle, volunteering at Wapsie Valley High School at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. Andy also coached basketball, volleyball, cross country and track. He thoroughly enjoyed shaping and encouraging young minds and watching kids evolve into the best versions of themselves. He did so with the classic “Harter Humor”.
While teaching at Sigourney High School, Andy met the love of his life, a fellow teacher, Jeni (Arduser/Crawford). They were married on July 4, 2003. They raised three boys, Peyton, Carson, and Mason. Out of all the things Andy was in his life, a father and husband were the most meaningful to him. Andy loved raising three boys with Jeni. He lived for his “herd”. He loved watching his boys grow into the fine young men they have become. They all played sports and Andy loved the Friday Night Lights, the sounds of squeaks from the sneakers on the gym floor, the shot of the starting pistol and the crack of a bat against a baseball.
Andy and Jeni had many adventures together. Andy loved road trips, especially with Jeni because they were “cruising together”. Andy and Jeni renovated houses, hosted foreign exchange students, and traveled all over the country for their kids’ sporting events. When Jeni started Pieces of Life Photography, Andy was one of her favorite subjects. In fact, up and until Jeni took Andy’s photo, there were rarely any pictures of him smiling. It is a family trait of the Harter men not to smile in photos, but for Jeni, Andy always smiled.
While you may not have known Andy, you were likely impacted by him because he was the personification of paying it forward. Always one to give and never one to expect anything in return or ever ask for help. Andy gave tirelessly to his community, friends, and family. In Andy’s presence you were always guaranteed to laugh…A LOT. His humor was sarcastic, dry, smart, witty, and sometimes dark. Most of the time when he told a joke it was not to make you laugh, but for his own amusement. But if you did laugh, he considered it a bonus.
On October 25, 2022, Andy received the news that he had ALS. Three letters….three devastating letters. Over the last nine and a half months Andy and his family faced many challenges, but they did so with grace, bravery, dignity, fortitude, vulnerability, and honesty. We will not dwell on this part of Andy’s life here, because Andy was so much more than ALS. Just know that he did #fightHARTER. He was eternally grateful for all of the love and support from his family, friends, and communities.
For those who Andy left to remember him, know that he is now “wild and free”, like the buffalo he had tattooed on his left forearm. It is up to us to #fightHARTER to pay it forward, preferably with a daily dose of sarcastic humor. Don’t weep because Andy is gone, but smile that you were lucky enough to know and love him.
Andrew Guy Richard Harter, he fought “Harter” and loved his herd until “his lungs gave out”.
There is a Celebration of Life for Andy Harter at Grumpy’s in Readlyn, IA, on Friday, August 11, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. until, “the buffalo go home”. In lieu of flowers or plants, please consider making a donation to the Harter Family, as they will be creating something creative and unique to honor and remember him.
Andy is survived by his wife, Jeni; his three sons Peyton (wife Madison), Carson (significant other Cienna), and Mason; his father-in-law and mother-in-law Don and Anne Arduser; his mother, Marla; his brother, Ryan(significant other Jasmine); his niece, Grace; his nephew, Maddux; one great aunt; four aunts; three uncles; twenty first cousins; several second and third cousins; a plethora of friends; countless students; his two dogs Roxie and Bernie; a cat-cousin Mr. Fitzgerald who he once lost, but was found; and a partridge in a pear tree. Andy’s first grandchild is expected in October 2023. Andy was preceded in death by his father, Mike; his paternal grandparents, Guy and Eloise; and his maternal grandparents, Dick and Pat.