Surrounded by loved ones, Everett Eugene “Gene” Harris, 79, of Fort Collins, passed away Sunday, Feb. 15. Gene was born Feb. 5, 1936, in Burns, WY. He was the third of four children born to George Everett and Delila (Dilley) Harris. His siblings were George Harris (deceased), Pearl Gray of Downey, CA, and Don Harris of Shawnee, OK. Gene grew up in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Chadron, Neb., before graduating from Loveland High School. He attended California State University at Long Beach in Long Beach.
In his early years, Gene worked for Wyoming Hereford Ranch in Cheyenne, back in the days when cowboys still had a remuda of horses and when everything was done horseback. In his spare time, he competed in rodeos. Gene’s cowboy and ranching experiences provided him a lifetime of colorful stories that he loved to share with his children and grandchildren who would plead with him, “Grandpa, tell us a story.” He was a real cowboy and was definitely the “Dr. McDreamy” of his day, but in those days he was more likely to be referred to as a real “Marlboro Man.”
Gene deeply loved horses and was a farrier his entire working life. In addition to operating his own business, he taught farrier science at Colorado State University. He assisted dozens of young men and women farrier apprentices in the establishment of their own farrier careers. Gene enjoyed difficult cases where he assisted in returning a lame horse to soundness. He believed in working hard and took the greatest enjoyment from his work and his customers. He enjoyed a successful career and was well respected by those in the Northern Colorado equine community.
In 1963, Gene married Wanda Morgan and together they raised their children. Today, their family has grown to include 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His parents, his brother George, and his sons, Scott Hoganboom, Jerry Harris, and K.C. Harris preceded Gene in death. He is survived by his wife, Wanda; his brother, Don, his children Diana Hollaway, Dennis Harris, and Marty Hoganboom; grandchildren, Lindsey (Troy), Keaton (Liza), Kayleigh, Katie, Raymond, David, Kyle, Sarah, Randy, and Jered; great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Gene’s family wants to express its gratitude to the wonderful staff at Columbine Health Systems who provided extraordinary care and who helped to make Gene’s final journey a peaceful one supported by compassion and respect.
Gene is fondly remembered as a man with a big heart, a true and loyal friend, and someone who never hesitated to help anyone in need. A celebration of Gene’s life will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22 at The Lodge at Mackenzie Place, 4751 Pleasant Oak Drive, Fort Collins. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Everett E. Harris Memorial Fund in care of Alluntt Funeral Service. Donations will support a memorial scholarship awarded to an aspiring horseshoer.