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Dan Walter Halbert, age 90 years and 28 days, passed away Friday, January 5, 2024 at Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan surrounded by his family. He was born December 8, 1933 in Cherryville, Missouri to Walter E. Halbert and Lillian Martin Halbert.
Being born during the Great Depression times were sometimes hard growing up. Jobs and money were scarce and his mom was sick most of his childhood and passed away when he was 7. With him being the baby in the family his sisters had a big hand in raising him, especially Hallie. He always said Hallie, Belle, and Nell spoiled him, but Ina was more of the disciplinarian. Up until Ina passed away, I think he was still just a little bit scared of her.
His dad worked many different jobs and he would sometimes have to walk several miles with him to work. Other times he stayed back with Mon and Hallie. Mon was a father figure to him as well as was his older brothers Homer and Carmen. They taught him how to hunt and play ball which was two of the things he enjoyed throughout his life.
He attended school at Cherry Valley and then Farrar school on the hill above Bobby Holler. Some of his greatest memories were from Bobby Holler. In his eyes this ground was sacred. He did get to visit one last time back in the summer. After his 8th grade year, he had to go to work. He worked in the timber industry and had some other jobs.
Around 1951 he went to work for Gordon Ellsted at Phillips 66. Gordon was very important to him and was more than just a boss to him. By delivering fuel oil all over the county he knew where everyone lived, where everyone’s brother lived and where everyone’s third cousin lived.
In March 1953 he married Dorothy Hinch and to this union one daughter, Debbie, was born. After his marriage to Dorothy ended, he married Ruth Ann Trask on September 26, 1959. He, Ruth Ann and her son Mitchell welcomed two more sons to the family. Myron (Rastus) first then Michael. He, Ruth Ann, and Rastus made homes in Bobby Holler, Salem, and Steelville before building a house on Ruth Ann’s family farm in 1964. They made this their home until 2013 when they moved to Steelville.
In the late 60’s they owned and operated the pool hall in Steelville for a couple of years. They decided it was too much trying to work full time jobs, raise a family and run a business. In 1968 he went to work for the Missouri State Highway Department and worked there until his retirement in 1989 with the title of crew leader. He loved his job and co-workers and had life-long relationships with many of them. His two favorite supervisors were Jumby Gladden and Glen Helms and some of his favorite co-workers were Cleatis Turnbough, Salty Bryan, Cecil Martin, Archie Halbert, Bude Martin, Jim Harmon, and Oren LaRue. Oh, the stories he loved to tell about this time in his life. I’m pretty sure the HR department would probably frown on some of their antics.
In the early 80’s he started auctioneering. He helped his lifelong friends Howard Brown Jr, Josephine, Danny and Dorothy. He also had consignment sales at East End, Cherryville, Steelville, and Leasburg. Gilbert and Geraldine Sellers helped him a lot with these. He also did estate sales with his brother Homer helping him. When there was ever a need for an auctioneer, he was always willing to step up and do pie suppers and benefits. He did this up until the early 2000’s when he decided to hang it up.
From an early age he grew a passion for hunting with hounds. The first dog that he remembered hunting with was old three-legged Trail owned by Mon and Joe Martin. According to him there wasn’t a varmit anywhere around Bobby Holler safe when ole Trail was on the hunt. As he got old enough to get his own dogs, he had Walker Sport and Blue Sport but the measuring sticks to all of the dogs in the country was Bob Tailed Red and Squealer. Ruth Ann always teased him about paying $1000 for Squealer and hauling him home in a $500 pickup. When he’d show up to a hunt with one these hounds folks got nervous, because he rarely lost. His favorite hunting partner was Earl Midyett. Some of his fondest memories were hunting and fishing with Earl. He also loved squirrel hunting with Little Red, and Susie. Some of his best beagles were Marge, Boss Hog, and Shorty. Coyote hunting with Dwight Martin and Jason Halbert was another passion of his. Banjo, Cadillac, Lincoln, Mercury and Florida Boy were some of the best hounds in the country. He loved playing fast pitch softball and baseball. He pitched some and played 2nd base. He hit left-handed and it’s been said that when he hit the ball on the ground it was going to be a hit with his blazing speed. In his younger days he liked to go to square dances as well. Even as he got older, he could still cut a jig. He had a team and wagon for many years and also enjoyed pulling ponys with Eldon Dunlap, Jerry Setzer, and many others.
In the mid 80’s he started growing sorghum and making molasses. A lot of family had moved away but making molasses helped bring the family back together. Pretty much everyone in the family from immediate to distant cousins and pretty much the whole neighborhood came to help out. This brought joy to his heart seeing everyone come together and to do this. Mon, Homer, Joe and him would take turns being in charge of a batch and then argue who’s was the best. He always said Joe made his too thin so he would have more to sell.
First and fore most Dan loved his family and was always there to lend a helping hand or advice. Maybe sometimes a little too much advice. His grand children were his world. He was their biggest fan when they played sports and could be seen at most every game cheering them on. If he couldn’t attend, he was calling to see how they did and how much money he owed them. A dollar a point for basketball and a dollar for a hit or scoring a run-in baseball. If they had a rough game he usually gave in and would give them a little for trying hard.
He recently had a great-granddaughter Kennedy and his eyes would light up when he’d get to see her. Dan lived a long, happy life and went strong right up until the last day. He loved being around people and enjoyed helping people. Whether it be financially or in other means he was always there for whoever needed him. His favorite hang outs, the Spare Rib, Country Mart, and Cherryville Store will not be the same without him. Dan will be truly missed by all that knew him and if you knew him, you loved him.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Lillian Halbert; his wife, Ruth Ann Halbert; brothers, Homer (Ethel) Halbert, Carmen (Mary Lee) Halbert, Estel Halbert, Horace Halbert and Everett Halbert; sisters, Leora Halbert, Hallie (Monroe) Martin, Bell (Ed) Ives, Nell (Walter) Hotchkiss and Ina (Clarence) Kreamalmeyer; step-son, Mitchell Huggins; grandson, Jordon Turner; brothers-in-law, Bill Trask and Clark Trask Jr.
He will be missed by his daughter, Debbie (Conrad) Culley of Cedar Hill, MO; two sons, Myron “Rastus” (Shari) Halbert and Mike (Joyce) Halbert all of Steelville, MO; grandchildren, Alexis Huggins, Andrew Huggins, Megan Turner, Courtney (Ryan) Moreland, Shannon (Casey) Werley, Kylee Halbert, Nolan Halbert, Gibson Halbert, Blanche Halbert and Ripken Halbert; great-grandchildren, Khloe and Grace Werley, Journey Turner, Cason and Dawson Werley, Nirvana Turner, Emma and Clark Huggins and Kennedy Moreland; brother-in-law, Bob (Lorene) Trask of Little Rock AR; sister-in-law, Sharon Trask of Potosi, MO; other relatives; and many friends.
The Family received friends from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at the Britton-Bennett Funeral Home in Steelville, MO.
Funeral services were held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 11, 2024 with Rev. Joe Eaton and Rev. Jerry Beers officiating. Special music of "Lord, Lead Me On" was sung and played on guitar by Rev. Jerry Beers. Other music of "I Heard the Lord Call my Name" and "I Saw the Light " was sung by Melissa Eaton and Rev. Joe Eaton and Rev. Jerry Beers both on guitar and Dave Bishop playing banjo.
The service Live streamed was on Britton-Bennett Funeral Home FaceBook Page.
Committal prayer and interment were in the Cherryville Baptist Cemetery, Cherryville, MO.
Honored to be casket bearers were Rastus Halbert, Mike Halbert, Nolan Halbert, Gibson Halbert, Ripken Halbert and Conrad Culley with Kylee Halbert and Blanche Halbert as honorary.
The Family was served by the Britton-Bennett Funeral Home of Steelville, MO.