Cover photo for Jerald Wayne Harter's Obituary

Jerald Wayne Harter

Jerald Wayne Harter, a loving husband, father, and grandfather, passed away at his home in Chandler, Arizona, on Aug. 13, 2023. He was born Nov. 14, 1938, in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he starred in football, basketball, and baseball. After attending Bismarck Junior College, Jerry earned an athletic scholarship to Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.

One of highlights of his playing career came on June 5, 1959, when he led a Bismarck amateur baseball team to a 5-2 victory over legendary pitcher Satchel Paige and a traveling team of all-stars. Besides being the winning pitcher, Jerry had a hit, scored a run, and drove in a run against Paige.

After earning his degree from Concordia, Jerry married Marguerite Schank in 1961 and began a lifelong career in education and coaching, including stints at Dickinson (N.D.) High School, Richardton (N.D.) High School, and Fargo (N.D.) South High School. After getting his master’s degree from North Dakota State University in 1974, he served as an assistant principal at Moorhead High School until retiring in 1999.

Although he regularly officiated high school and college football games in the fall and basketball games in the winter, Jerry was best-known as head coach of the Fargo American Legion baseball team, compiling an historic 1,199-524 career record from 1967 to 1995. His teams won eight state championships and three regional championships, advancing to the Legion World Series in 1969, 1989, and 1992. Jerry was inducted into the North Dakota American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.

An avid outdoorsman since he was a teenager, Jerry enjoyed hunting geese, ducks, and pheasants with his friends and family. After moving to Arizona in 1999, he still regularly returned in the fall to hunt in North Dakota.

After retiring, Jerry and Marguerite moved to Chandler, where he was able to attend baseball games year-round (even serving as a volunteer coach at a local high school), work on his vegetable garden and desert landscaping daily, and spoil his grandchildren. He and Marguerite also served as ambassadors for the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership and were named Ambassadors of the Year in 2012.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Marguerite; his children, Jess, Jill, and Jay; his daughter-in-law, Jennie; his granddaughter, Jordan; and his brother, David. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Ruth; his sister, Maxine; and his grandson, Jacob.
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