Harlan L. Shinn, 92, a long-time farmer and resident of the Yakima Valley, passed away on Thursday, June 18, 2009.

He was born Oct. 14, 1916 in Lamar, Colo., the first of four sons, born to Otis J. and Grace (Lyvere) Shinn.

As a youth he learned at a very early age the necessity and value of hard work. He worked on the family farm during this era of horse powered farming. Eventually he and his family experienced the worst days of the depression and dust bowl of the 1930s.

He and Kathryn Snyder were married at Kit Carson, Colo. in June of 1934.

Together they left Colorado and came to Washington in search of a more promising opportunity. The Yakima Valley with its abundance of water, fruit and other crops seemed wonderful after living in the drought stricken mid-west. They took employment in the Lower Valley and were content to do any work they could find. Wages for farm labor were generally $1 a day. After a few years, he was able to purchase a small farm on Cemetery Road near Mabton.

In those years he took in untrained draft horses and trained them for use on the farm. In winter he felt fortunate to use them in the cleaning of ditches and canals for the irrigation district.

During WWII, Mr. Shinn worked off the farm part-time delivering feed up and down the Valley for the Mabton Mill. Later he formed a construction business and built numerous houses and buildings especially in the Bickleton and Horse Heaven areas.

After searching for some time for a situation in the farming industry, he leased a farm in the Satus area in 1952. He purchased the farm in 1960, and there he lived and worked the rest of his life.

The farm grew over the years. His special interest and energy was focused on the growing of hops.

He served many growers organizations and was honored with awards by both the hop growers and mint growers. He was joined in the farm business by his son, Ed in 1958 and a grandson, Kyle in 1980.

Mr. Shinn loved his work and worked every day. He truly felt at a loss if for some reason he could not accomplish something every day.

He never retired completely until at the age of 88 when his health would not allow him to continue. He was a man of strong convictions and a strict moral code. He disliked pretense or showmanship. His word was as good as a contract.

He is survived by his wife of 75 years, Kathryn; three children, Janice Tate (Joe) of Granger, Barbara Clark (Bill) of Bickleton, Ed Shinn (Donilee) of Toppenish; 10 grandchildren, Carmen Crosno (Jeff), Kyle Shinn (Lisa), Christina Bazaldua (Miguel), Curtis Tate (Jackie), Brian Tate (Judith), Kathy Hess (Darin), Colleen Jensen (John), Karl McBride (Nora), Ben McBride (Julie) and Melinda Whitmore (Tom); numerous great-grandchildren; and two brothers, Floyd Shinn of Vancouver and Lawrence Shinn of Woodland.

Viewing will be held today, June 22, 2009, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Keith & Keith Ninth Avenue Chapel in Yakima. A private family burial will be held prior to the memorial service at Terrace Heights Memorial Park. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, June 23, 2009, at 11:30 a.m. at Zillah Nazarene Church, 203 Miles Drive in Zillah.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Yakima Union Gospel Mission, Yakima Salvation Army, or favorite charity.

Those wishing to share a memory of Harlan may visit

Keith & Keith Funeral Home in Yakima is in charge of arrangements.


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