Harold Bernard Blach was born May 21, 1932 on the Wenzel and Kathryn (Fieber) Blach Homestead north of Yuma, Colorado to Herman and Ella (Burns) Blach. He was a healthy farm boy weighing in at 9.5 pounds. He was the fourth child of 8 children born to this family. Harold grew up north of Yuma, in a large Catholic family. The family faith surrounded them daily and was the driving factor in all they accomplished. Harold’s earliest memories were playing with wooden blocks from the cow shed. Harold also had fond memories of attending school at the Blach School, which was 1 mile north and 3 miles east of the Blach Homestead. Harold’s mother and sisters would fix lunch to send with the children driving to school. The children would drive to school in a 4 door Chevy car with a cream can of water for drinking. The oldest kids got to drive the car, none of which had a license. As a young boy Harold recalled the brothers riding bucket calves, not reaching the 8 seconds. It was also their job to catch 2 roosters for the noon meal. The boys would get the chickens ready and Ella would do the final cleaning. Harold recalled that the meals were always family style, with a big platter of chicken. The younger children had to take a bony piece and then the second time around could grab a piece with more meat. This was a lesson in learning the parts of the chicken. Other activities Harold would recall were, playing in the lagoon after a large rain, ice skating on the lagoon in the winter with their Daddy, walking on stilts which they got onto from the top of the chicken house.
Harold attended Yuma Union High School. There were no bus routes that far out into the country so the Blach children drove to school in their 4 door Chevy. Harold recalled that there was no messing around when not in school. Work was to be done first before any play. Although Harold recalled that there were a lot of things done that Mother and Daddy didn’t know about and if any info leaked out, look out! Following high school graduation in 1950, Harold attended college at Colorado A&M and was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He joined the ROTC. Harold received his degree in Animal Husbandry in 1954. After graduation, Uncle Sam called and Harold served active duty in the Air Force from 1955-57 and 6 years in the reserves. Following his active duty in 1957 Harold returned to the family farm north of Yuma and started farming and ranching. In 1958, Harold spent 2 weeks in the summer training state side in the Colorado Air Guard. Through conversations with the airmen and the enlisted men there was a nice looking fellow that wanted Harold to meet his girl cousin. Harold was a little reluctant and thought hard about it. So one weekend in Denver they met! Harold recalled that she was petit and cute as a button, trim as a fiddle. She had a red sweater and red shirt on. Harold recalled he never thought of looking at her shoes, he was focused on her brown eyes and dark hair. Harold thought they could make some “sweet music” together! Dorothy May Kopine of LaVeta, Colorado a southern mountain girl was convinced by the Air Force captain to marry him and move to the plains of Yuma, Colorado. At the time of Harold’s passing they had been making “sweet music” for 59 plus years. Harold and Dorothy were married on July 30, 1960, in LaVeta, Colorado at Christ the King Catholic Church. To this union two sons were born, David Franklin Blach, May 14, 1961 and Ronald Lee Blach, June 14, 1965.
Harold and Dorothy started their farming and ranching operation by purchasing a farm north of Yuma, where they produced crops of wheat, corn, sorghum and rye for feed and cattle. In the 1960’s when irrigation was obtained on some of the land, gated pipe was used to water the crops until the later 70’s when flood irrigation was converted to pivot sprinklers. Harold believed in farming and ranching practices that helped and nurtured the crops and livestock while improving the quality of the land. Harold always told his family to leave the land in better condition than when they started farming it. Harold was involved with cooperative improvements through the soil conservation district. Some of these practices were tree windbreaks, land terracing to control water erosion on farm land, grassland seeding, pasture management with stock water location, bottomless tanks, fencing, and rotational grazing. Also Harold believed in soil testing for efficient use of fertilizer on crops, sprinkler renozzling to reduce evaporation and scouting for pest control and water management. Harold used performance and fertility tested bulls in a hybrid rotation in the cow/calf herd. Harold was a constant steward of the land. Harold increased his crops to include sugarbeets, alfalfa, soybeans, and his cow/calf production to backgrounding calves to feeders and then finishing the cattle at Schramm Feedlot. In the backgrounding and cow calf production he utilized volunteer wheat stubble and corn sorghum silage as part of the feed source. Harold’s famous declaration to his family was, “Sunrise is the most beautiful part of the day, let’s get to work!”
Harold was active in the Yuma community serving on the Yuma School District school board, Yuma cemetery board, Democratic committee, St John’s Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus and numerous other community organizations. Harold was a member of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Degree Knights of Columbus. Harold and Dorothy attended Marriage Encounter and Cursillo retreats and many hands at bridge club with their special friends. Harold was also a member of Colorado Wheat Growers Association, Colorado Sugarbeet Growers Association, Yuma County Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Corn Growers Association, and various other farm and ranch organizations. Harold was a Yuma County Commissioner from 1987-1990 and 1996-1997. He was instrumental in establishing the Yuma County Pest Control District to control noxious weeds in his term.
One of Harold’s passions about life was his faith, faith in God, his church and his family. His faith and prayer was second to none. He loved his family and cherished every Sunday at church with his family beside him and then lunch afterwards. Most conversations were about what the next week of work was going to be, giving advice to his 5 grandsons and 2 granddaughters and loving on his 3 great grandchildren. Harold was also ready to help those in need, donating beef and pork to many fundraisers in the community. The Eckley Firemen at Old Settlers, Knights of Columbus fundraisers and Harmony Home/Parish Care Facility were some of the groups he loved to give to. He was instrumental in the care and renovation of St John’s Catholic Church in Yuma. You could also find Harold stirring up a wooden crock of homemade ice cream for his family to enjoy. Galuskies, a German dish was one of the foods Harold loved to make and serve at holiday meals. In a crowded room it was not hard to find Harold when he broke out in laughter, making everyone in the room smile and laugh as well.
Harold Bernard Blach, 87 years young went to rest on October 13, 2019 on his way to church, dressed for the Lord. He is preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Ella Blach, his mother and father in-law Louis and Alice Kopine, his brothers, Sherman Blach and Donald Blach, his sister Arlene Blach. Harold is survived by his wife, Dorothy May Blach wife of 59 years. Son David Blach and wife Karla Blach, Son Ronald Blach and wife Lisa Blach all of Yuma, Colorado. Sisters Bethne Blach Filion from Cleveland, OH, and Colleen Blach Bates from Wheatridge, Colorado, Brothers Leonard Blach and wife Joanne from Roswell, New Mexico, and Millard Blach and wife Sherrell from Omaha, Nebraska. Sister in-Laws, Joan Blach from Springfield, MO and Betty Blach from Green Forest, AR. Grandsons, Jeremy Blach and wife Meghann, Jace Blach, Conner Blach and fiancé Jenna Zink, Jenner Blach, Preston Blach and granddaughters Brittnee Blach and fiancé Trent Schaefer and Shelby Blach. Great Grandchildren, Adley Jo, Kashton Lee and Kaizley Ella (Jeremy and Meghann Blach). Many cousins, nieces, nephews and their families and more family, friends and colleagues than can ever be counted.
A private family casket branding was held at the Baucke Funeral Home on October 17, 2019. The grandchildren of Harold each took a turn with his brand symbols, each getting to brand his casket made of reclaimed barn wood. A Rosary was held on Friday October 18, 2019 at St John’s Catholic Church in Yuma, Colorado at 6:00 pm. A celebration of life funeral mass for Harold Bernard Blach was held at 10:00 am on October 19, 2019. Harold’s grandchildren and great grandchildren escorted him to the cemetery in his 1932 Grain Truck. Leading the way was a tractor of his era driven by his grandsons. The church bells tolled until Harold was across the railroad track, a practice that took place when Harold was a child. Memorial donations may be made to St John’s Catholic Church in memory of Harold Bernard Blach.
A tribute written by Jeremy Blach, oldest grandson of Harold.
Known by most as Husband, Dad, Grandpa, great Grandpa, Brother, Brother In Law, Uncle, Great Uncle, Cousin, HeeHaw, Old Man Blach, Commissioner and I’m sure there were a hand full of other names that floated around out there somewhere. You taught me a lot about life over the years that I was fortunate enough to be around for. It was your tank of a Chevy fence pickup where I learned to drive stick shift under elevated commands. Never stand around with your teeth in your mouth or your hands in your pockets. Always hustle up and get it fixed or taken care of. “That’s it” seemed to be your main compliment, which I feel like what you really meant was wow you finally figured it out. You proved to that old worn out cowboy boots are the key to excellent grandpa agility in playing a round or two of fox and geese on ice packed snow out in your yard with all of the family. You don’t need rotator cuffs in your shoulders to crawl 7 feet up into your Hough loader everyday no matter the weather to feed calves until you’re 85 years old. When your pickup breaks down in Nebraska with your grandson, you can borrow a turquoise PT Cruiser from the dealership in Ogallala to roll up to the Hoffman Ranch Bull Sale. You don’t always have to worry when your first granddaughter in-law shows up to be your main help preg checking heifers with Dr. Pat while everyone else is in harvest. God doesn’t care if our pickup doors and boxes are entirely one color or even two for that matter. Most importantly always get on your knees daily and even more so when things get rough to visit with the boss upstairs. The Holy Spirit will guide you, protect you, and surround you with his everlasting love.
We will continue to watch over your black baldy cows and your wheat fields, but most importantly your love of 59 years, your Queen as you would call her! That phone call to see what the calves weighed, or how many baby calves were born today, or how many new calves we saved during the storm last night, or how much rain we ended up getting, will be answered again someday.
REST IN PEACE GRANDPA
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