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Derek A. Harms

July 18, 1997 ~ April 8, 2018 (age 20)

It is with extreme sadness and heavy hearts that we, Georgianne and Dennis Harms, acknowledge the passing of our beloved son, Derek Austin Harms, age 20, as the result of a tragic snowboarding accident on Sunday, April 8, 2018.

Derek was the dear nephew and cousin of many.  His diverse circle of friends is wide-reaching and deeply loyal.  A natural leader, Derek was a wonderful, vibrant young man who embraced life with vigor and excelled at every sport, hobby, and interest he pursued.

As a junior, majoring in outdoor recreational tourism at Winona State University in Minnesota, Derek thrived in his studies, work, activities, and creative expressions—ranging from photography to hosting a campus radio program.

He loved all things outdoors and was a caring custodian of nature.  Derek enjoyed rock climbing, kayaking, camping, and exploring, as well as snow sports.  A staff member at the OERC (outdoor activity center) at WSU in Winona, he was a climbing instructor and a canoe guide on the Mississippi River.

For the past four summers, he was a counselor at Camp Deerhorn in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.  His leadership duties included being:  a certified lifeguard, a horseback riding instructor, and leader of Voyager expeditions to the Boundary Waters of Lake Superior.  Derek was a favorite Camp counselor to boys, 8 to 14, and he was a renowned performer of folk music-- singing and playing guitar, mandolin, and ukulele.

Derek’s sunny smile lit up every setting he entered.  His kindness, generosity, and infectious sense of humor will be celebrated forever.

Visitation will be 2pm until the funeral service at 4pm, Sunday April 15 at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 647 Dundee Ave, Barrington.  A reception will follow in the Community room at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Derek’s name may be made to:

  • A Harms family foundation which is in development and will be posted by June 4, 2018 ​​
  • The National Park Foundation, 
  •  The Sierra Club,
  • Th National Eagle Center, Wabasha, MN,
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