Harold Franklin Garner, 96, passed this life peacefully at 4:55 p.m. on Friday, January 29 in the comfort and safety of his home. He was born March 4, 1924 to Addison Dewey and Blanche (Sims) Garner in Danville, Illinois. He attended Cannon Grade School and graduated from Danville High School in 1942. He served with the army combat engineers in the European and Pacific theaters. He retired from General Electric after 37 years.
Hal married Dorothy Lucile Egly on November 24, 1946. He always called her his “Angel,” and she preceded him on September 28, 2015. Surviving are a daughter, Carol (Gary) Paris of Washington, North Carolina and twin sons, Dennis (Lynn) Garner of Muncie, Indiana and David Garner of Peoria, Illinois. He is also survived by a sister Patricia (David) Jarvis of Collison, Illinois and by his grandchildren Caryn (Jeff) Isenhower of Philo, Illinois, Darin (Dana) Paris of San Marcos, California, James Garner of Fishers, Indiana, Jeffrey Garner of Muncie, Indiana, and his great-granddaughters, Abriella Paris and Isabella Paris of San Marcos, California.
Hal enjoyed sports of all kinds whether in person, on the radio, or on the television. He bowled, and he coached/played basketball, baseball and softball for many years primarily with the GEAA. Hal was known as “Rag-Arm” and “Whip” in fast pitch softball in the Danville area. He pitched 17 straight innings at age 49 to advance in a tournament in 1973. His trophy case holds numerous MVP awards. He also coached his sons in youth league baseball for many years. And after retiring from his many years of playing baseball and softball, he moved to the other side of home plate as an umpire. He was an “extra” during the filming of “The Babe” at Danville Stadium in 1991.
Later in his retirement Hal was a shuttle driver for Hyster and for Faith in Action, and he also drove family and friends to and from airports/doctor appointments. He was a diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan with Stan Musial being his favorite player. He always cheered for the Fighting Illini and for Jeff Gordon. He enjoyed listening to music, especially big band music, and he looked forward to The Lawrence Welk Show on Saturday nights.
In retirement Hal and Dorothy enjoyed traveling to visit with her siblings from coast to coast where they played a lot of cards and ate a lot of good Egly cooking. He enjoyed Saturday morning breakfasts with the guys for many years, and he looked forward to the monthly lunches with some of his GE buddies.
Hal faithfully attended Community Church of God, and he was the oldest living member before his passing. Over the years he served on the Board of Trustees, taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, ushered, served for many years as Sunday School Secretary, and, of course, played on the church softball team.
Besides his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Kenneth “Kenny” Garner, his sister Dorothy “Dot” Smith, and his brother-in-law Tom Smith.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in his name to Community Church of God (535 South Bowman Avenue, Danville, Illinois 61832).
Due to the pandemic there will be no public visitation or funeral. A private service for family will be officiated by Rev. Steve Stanley, and burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Park.
Kruger Coan Pape Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Messages can be left on the website www.KrugerCoanPape.com.
Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.
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