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Royce E. "Butch" Harms, Jr.

April 1, 1943 January 3, 2021
Royce E. "Butch" Harms, Jr.
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Obituary for Royce E. "Butch" Harms, Jr.

Royce E. “Butch” Harms, Jr., loving husband and father of three children, passed away at Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, MS on the evening of Sunday, January 3, 2021 at the age of 77.
Butch was born April 1, 1943 in Fort Worth, TX to Royce and Elta (Smith) Harms. His father served in the military, making the ultimate sacrifice in World War II. Raised by his mother and step father, Louis Greer, Butch grew up in Jackson, MS with his younger siblings, Larry and Patricia.
Butch had a passion for sports, excelling in track and playing alongside his brother for the 1960 Provine Rams Big 8 football championship team. While attending the University of Southern Mississippi, Butch met the love of his life as a camp counselor. After his graduation, Butch and Dianne wed in 1965 and would hold each other’s hands and hearts through a rich fifty-five year journey of marriage. Together they would learn and share lessons of grace, humility, forgiveness, patience and love that would define them and their legacies.
In 1966, Butch enlisted in the United Marine Corps, eventually serving a tour during the conflict in Vietnam. Captain Harms returned home, beginning a new chapter as a compassionate, hard-working, devoted father. With the arrival of his and Dianne’s three children, Butch’s family would experience the depth of generous, faithful love that would continue throughout his life, extending to his beloved grandchildren and beyond. He wore hats as Ironman sherpa, master barbecue griller, and DIY car mechanic. “Camp Papa Butch,” an early moniker for playful grandchildren visits, embodied his spirit of opening heart and home to others throughout his life.
His dedication to hard work shone in every job held- from those traveling DuBois days to long hours at Indian Cycle and Fitness. Eventually, Butch found unique opportunities to offer his gifts of administrative excellence and compassionate service through Madison United Methodist Church as the Christian Life Center Director. He organized Upward Sports, volunteered locally in Kairos ministry and Red Cross disaster shelters, and served on mission trips to Estonia and Central America. He relished the behind-the-scenes camaraderie of cherished Wednesday Night Meals and found years of joy teaching and mentoring Confirmation youth and VBS children.
Whether canoeing on a Mississippi creek, hiking an Appalachian wilderness, or pitching tents at a primitive campsite, Butch’s unmistakable love for nature was easily shared with others. Boy or Cub Scouts who had Mr. Butch around knew they were in for an enriched, memorable experience! An all-around “handy man,” Butch’s reliable, creative resourcefulness brought solutions, support, and relief to countless family, friends, and strangers. If you needed something, you asked “Mr. Butch” or simply called on “Dad.”
During the last few years of his life, Butch enjoyed traveling with Dianne to France, Alaska, San Francisco, Big Bend National Park, and family summer trips to the Gulf Coast. He enjoyed connecting with long-time friends at Provine reunion dinners and attending his grandchildren’s sporting events, music recitals/concerts, ROTC, Color Guard performances, art shows, and graduation events. His presence was always felt, a quiet, dependable strength that will be greatly missed by many.
Butch was preceded in death by his father, Royce, his mother, Elta, his step father, Louis, and brother-in-law Craig. He is survived by his wife and best friend, Dianne, his daughters Lauren (Michael) and Stephanie (Patrick), and son Jason (Wendy). Butch will also be fondly remembered by his grandchildren, Devon, Peyton, Emily, Ian, Miles, and James, his brother, Larry (Gloria), sister Patricia (Walter), and sister-in-law Judy (Jerry); foster children Holly Blackwell Pierce and Heather Blackwell, nieces Meichelle and Lydia, and nephews Brian, Hank (Rita) and Lucas (Megan).
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that you make a memorial donation to your favorite charity, contribute to the Mississippi Food Network or practice Random Acts of Kindness such as tipping your waiter/waitress an extra amount over your usual tip. Butch often practiced generosity in this way.

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