Harold Samuel Kern

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  • "My connection to Harold Samuel Kern is a Second Cousin..."
    - John North
  • "Harold, when I joined RPEC, I found that you and Kay were..."
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    - Kenneth Herman
  • "Sorry to hear Harold passed away. I also, had polio in..."
    - Stanley Nelson
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Service Information
Vancouver Funeral Chapel | Funeral Homes Vancouver WA
110 East 12th Street
Vancouver, WA

January 2, 1914 ~ March 18, 2011

Harold Samuel Kern passed away at the Waterford at Fairway Village in Vancouver, WA on March 18, 2011. He was born in Vancouver, WA on Jan. 2, 1914 to Samuel G. and Huldah H. (Buehler) Kern and attended Arnada Grade School at "H" and Fourth Plain. He and the boys were allowed to bring their 22 rifles to school, set them up in a corner of the class room and after school go pheasant hunting around Ft. Vancouver. He was a member of the first class to graduate from Shumway Jr. Hi, now the School of Arts and Academics.
After graduating from Vancouver High School in 1932, his love of flying and choice of attending the U.S. Naval Academy or a career with General Petroleum Co. were shattered when he contracted polio. Though this left him permanently disabled, he successfully pursued a career.
One of his first jobs was being district manager for the National Youth Administration. It paid $18.00 a month for working 20 hours a week. A promotion to a full time county supervisor paid $90.00 a month. Needing a car, he purchased a used 1929 Model A Ford. Another promotion transferred him to Tacoma where he met the love of his life, Kathryn Viken. They were married on Feb. 22, 1947.
While working for the National Youth Administration, Harold set up various classes including auto mechanics. His class was given an old Buick to restore. When the U.S. president's wife, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, came to inspect the classes, the Buick was chosen for her transportation. While driving her around Seattle and telling her what fine mechanics these boys were, a rear wheel came off. The tour was continued in a different car.
In 1947, he went to work for PUD and became their Chief Purchasing Agent until his retirement 33 years later.
Always willing to serve his church and community: Harold was active in the Rotary Club 62 years, the Elks Club 69 years, the Ft. Vancouver Historical Society, the Clark County Red Cross, the WA State Retire Employees Chapter 9, chairman of the Clark Co. March of Dimes 10 years, chairman of Vancouver Aviation Advisory Committee, past president of the Vancouver Jaycees, a charter member of the Toastmasters Club #610, WA State Director International Aviation Council, 2 terms, board member of the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the administrative council at the First United Methodist Church.
While a teenager, Harold crossed the Columbia River some 13 different ways. In 1928 the river froze into solid ice. He walked, rode a bicycle, and drove an old Dodge across; other ways were swimming, boating, flying as a pilot and passenger, train, streetcar; on the bridge walking, car driver and passenger, and bicycling.
Harold is survived by his wife, Kathryn, of 63 years; and brother, James Kern (Rena).
He was preceded in death by his parents, Sam and Huldah Kern; and brothers, Phillip and Clarence.
The family extends special thanks to SWMC, Ft. Vancouver Convalescent Center, Hospice and the Waterford for their compassionate and loving care.
A life celebration memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist, Vancouver, WA at 1:00 p.m., Thurs., March 31, 2011.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Vancouver Red Cross, the Methodist Church Foundation or the charity of choice.
Arrangements entrusted to Vancouver Funeral Chapel.
Please sign Harold's guest book at: www.columbian.com/obits.


Published in The Columbian on Mar. 27, 2011
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