Former Westerner Park CEO John Harms passes away suddenly at 63

By rdnewsNOW staff
January 9, 2019 - 11:00pm Updated: January 10, 2019 - 8:46am

Long time Red Deer community builder John P. Harms has passed away.

An obituary published on the Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home and Cremation Services website indicates Harms passed away suddenly on January 5, 2019 at the age of 63. 

Harms was born November 17, 1955, son to Lois and Dr. John Harms, graduating from the U of A with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Masters of Business Administration.

Harms’ career spanned many different fields, most notably with Edmonton Northlands for over nine years, the Red Deer College Board of Governors and Westerner Park, where he spent close to 20 years, including 18 as CEO from June 1996 - May 2014. 

A statement released on the Westerner Park Facebook page acknowledges the accomplishments made by the organization under Harms’ leadership.

It states Harms oversaw projects that have helped elevate Westerner Park into its current premier event facility status.

“From the construction of the Harvest Centre, Donald Administration Building and Westerner Campground to the remarkable 330,000 sq ft expansion of Agritrade - John worked to ensure a successful future for Westerner Park and surrounding communities,” it reads. “Infamously coining the phrase ‘Westerner Pride’, John’s legacy lives on as he will forever be remembered in our hearts as a true Westerner.”

Harms is lovingly remembered by his daughter Erin (Oliver) Foster; mother Lois; brother Michael; sisters, Rhonda Meredith and Sandra Clark; dear friend and mother of his child, Carol Weir; nephews, and godson Matthew (Nicole) Harms, Sean (Ilse) Harms, and Cameron Meredith; numerous relatives and friends. 

Harms was predeceased by his father, Dr. John Harms. 

A Celebration of John’s life will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, January 11, 2019, at Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home, 10011-114 Street, Edmonton. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to STARS Shock Trauma Air Rescue.

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