Kenneth Harlan

March 11, 1949-June 4, 2024


Kenneth Harlan, 75, of rural Crawfordsville has died as a result of pancreatic cancer on June 4, 2024, at Ben Hur Health and Rehabilitation.

Ken was born the second son of Arthur E. and Betty L. (Boyll) Harlan on March 11, 1949, in Terre Haute. He was raised on a farm in Vigo County and attended township schools, graduating from Honey Creek High School in 1967. While in high school, Ken participated in varsity sports, student government, served as class president, and was selected for National Honor Society.

After high school, he pursued a mechanical engineering degree from Rose Polytechnic Institute, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree with quarterly academic honors in 1971, the last year the degrees were conferred in the original name, Rose Polytechnic, before becoming Rose-Hulman. Ken later interrupted his career to return to Purdue University and earn a Master of Science degree.

After graduation he accepted an engineering position with American Machine and Foundry, Wheel Goods Division, in Olney, Illinois. There he served in a variety of engineering and maintenance positions, culminating in Director of Engineering. After the sale of the Division, he accepted a position with Raybestos Manhattan in Crawfordsville as Manager of Manufacturing Engineering, where he worked for the final 23 years of a 42-year career in the industry.

While in southern Illinois, Ken and Ann Marie (All) Harlan were married. They began life together on a small farm in Richland County and were blessed with two sons, David Owen Harlan (Lt. Col. ret) Louisville, Kentucky, and James Wesley Arthur Harlan, Clarksville, Indiana. The family moved to an Indiana farm in Montgomery County with the change in employment.

Ken always had an interest in virtually anything mechanical or electrical, and especially those that rolled: fast cars, motorcycles, trucks, old tractors and even airplanes. He earned his private pilot’s license in 1976 and owned an airplane for several years, logging nearly 1,000 hours. In 1982 he took a cross-country trip to the West coast on a new Harley Davidson Low Rider motorcycle, and continued to enjoy motorcycling throughout his life, riding with a group of friends weekly during his retirement. He had an irrepressible desire to know how things work all of his life and was eager to fix or repair virtually anything as well as design, fabricate or build a variety of engineering projects.

Ken enjoyed an interesting and full life and was grateful to God for his family, friends, career, the many varied and wonderful people that he has met, and especially the opportunity to farm and remain a part of the agriculture community throughout the years while still working full time in engineering.

In addition, to his parents he was predeceased by step-mother Patricia L. Harlan; infant sister Terri Lynn; and infant daughter Grace Leone.

He is survived by Ann Marie; his two sons; three grandchildren, Saoirse, Magnus and Pheadra; brothers, Thomas Harlan and Bobby Harlan; and sister Karen Farmer, all of Terre Haute; as well as several nieces and nephews.

Cremation was chosen with a graveside service at Freedom Cemetery, 6008 S.R. 234 in Waveland at 1 p.m. Friday, June 21. Sanders Priebe Funeral Care responsible for the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Ken’s memory to the American Farmland Trust,

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