Serving Whitman County since 1877

William George Harder Jr.

Dec. 16, 1961 - April 1, 2024

William (Billy/Bill Jr.) George Harder, Jr. died April 1 at the age of 62, in Kahlotus, Wash.

Billy was the first child born to Bill Harder, Sr. and Vivian (Hamilton) Harder, on Dec. 16, 1961. He was joined by his brothers Kurt and Eric in 1964 and 1969. The boys were raised on their family's Kahlotus, Wash., wheat and cattle ranch, partaking in chores and taking on responsibilities from an early age. Billy proved his toughness in his youth getting bucked off a horse then pitch from a four-wheeler. Never a quitter, he always got right back up and kept going, never complaining.

Billy was the quiet, even-keeled one in the family. If you knew his father and brothers, you know there was no point in competing those volumes. Billy's quiet strength gave him fortitude and made him resilient, both traits he would draw on for years to come.

Billy attended school in Kahlotus for all 12 years as did many of his classmates, several of whom remained his closest and most cherished friends his entire life.

Billy and his family had many close friends in the Kahlotus community. The adults in their circle of family friends became extended parents to Billy and his brothers just as their children became like extended siblings. The families enjoyed many years and many adventures together including camping trips, Sundays at the river, clam digging trips, and RV adventures.

Billy's was a close family unit. The family worked together, vacationed together and often argued "together." It was a true testament to their fondness for one another that they spent their free time together attending Nascar races and Cougar football games, playing Texas Hold 'em or visiting casinos, and vacationing in Mexico together.

Following in his mother's footsteps, Billy graduated from Washington State University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics. In particular, he studied and excelled at accounting, a career path suggested to him by one of his Kahlotus high school teachers. And this path served him well as he developed into the Business Manger for his family's diversified agriculture business.

Billy was also the 'parts' guy, constantly dispatched to pick up parts here, there, and without fail back to here again. He took this role seriously, often bringing back 5 of any given item instead of the 1 requested, eating at the best restaurant nearest the parts dealer, and making friends with every vendor along his way. If you've spent any time at all on highways between Kahlotus and the Tri Cities or Spokane, surely, you'll remember seeing Billy zoom by with his proud "WSU 84-Ag" license plates.

After his brothers passed, Billy took a more active role in the operation of the family business; and, following his dad's passing, became the primary decision maker. He welcomed bringing his nephews and niece into the family business just as his father had welcomed he and his brothers. There were many stories, histories, rituals, habits, and routines to pass on to them and he was so excited to extend the legacy.

Following in his father's footsteps, Billy was a dedicated man of service. He took pride in his community serving on the Kahlotus School Board and taking his father's founding commissioner seat for the Port District of Kahlotus.

His was a member of and served terms as Treasurer for the local Lyons Club, the Franklin County Wheat Board, and the Franklin County Cattlemen's Association. His many years of service also included memberships to the Washington Cattlemen's Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, Washington Association of Wheat Growers, and Kahlotus City Council.

Billy was preceded in death by his parents, Bill, Sr. and Vivan, and by his brothers, Kurt and Eric. He is survived by his sister-in-law Terri (Dusty Roller), his niece, Nicole, his nephews, Eric Max (Ally) and TJ; and, Max's son, Eric Andrew, whom Billy adored. He is also survived by his uncle Clarence Hamilton and Clarence's wife, Laura, as well as numerous cousins in the extended Hamilton and Harder families.

Please join the family for a memorial service to be held, Friday, April 12, at the Kahlotus Grange Hall at 11 a.m. A graveside service at the Harder Family Cemetery will immediately follow with a lunch of Billy's favorite, Longhorn BBQ, after the graveside service at the Kahlotus Grange Hall. Memorial gifts may be made in Billy's memory to Washington Cattlemen's Association, PO Box 96, Ellensburg, WA 98926, or Washington Association of Wheat Growers, 109 E. First, Ritzville, WA 99169.


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