Harold Vernon Baehler


Longtime Sharon Springs, Kansas resident Harold Vernon Baehler, 85, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on April 4, 2024 at Hope Springs in Sharon Springs, Kansas.

Harold Vernon was born on April 14, 1938 at the “Collin’s Place” in rural northwest Wallace County, Kansas to Harold Lee “Hap” and Mary Elizabeth (Sullivan) Baehler. He was the only son and youngest sibling of sisters Joan and Barbara “Bobby”. 

He started his education at the Fairport country school house and then Wallace County Consolidated High School graduating in 1956. 

On September 5, 1959 he married his high school sweetheart and love of his life Elizabeth Frances (Betty) Vincent in the Wallace County Courthouse in Sharon Springs. To this union 3-sons were born Vernon Lee, Dusty Dee and Shawn Delbert.

From a young age Harold knew hard work and cowboying. During his upbringing he started working on the W.W. Carter Ranch that his father managed. This is where his admiration for cattle and horses developed into what would be his lifelong passion and legacy. After graduating high school he worked with George and Snick Harrison in the north eastern part of Wallace County on the “Sweat Ranch” and helped with their rodeo string. While rodeoing with the Harrison’s he occasionally rode bulls and calf roped up until the birth of their first son Vernon.

They then moved to the “Gunnels Ranch” in Logan County, where he ran their cattle operation for the next 18 years. This is where he started building onto his personal herd of Hereford cows with the purchase of his first Simmental bull named Rudy, and ultimately settled on raising red Simmental cross cattle, which is what the herd consist of to this day. 

On June 22, 1964, at a dispersal auction in Cheyenne Wells, CO, Harold purchased two Quarter horse mares, named Babe Hunt and June Hunt. These two mares are the foundation he built Baehler Quarter Horses on. 

In 1981 they moved to The Smoky River Ranch in Wallace County where he was a cattleman for Tom and Jim Harrison followed by the Robert Campbell family. This ranch is where he called home up until his death.  He built Smoky River Ranch from a small two pen cattle feed lot in the 80s to the thousand head feed yard it is today. He ran the feed truck morning and night for over 40 years until the age of 82 when his grandson Coltin took over. 

One of his most noteworthy life experiences and one of his favorite stories to tell was when he rode his horse in the Cotton Bowl Parade with the 7th Calvary drill team in downtown Dallas, Texas. 

He was a member of the American Simmental Association and the American Quarter Horse Association. In 2019, Harold was recognized by the American Quarter Horse association for being a 50 year breeder. He registered his first foal in 1966 and has since bred and raised close to 200 foals.

With a reputation for his expertise of cattle and horses, Harold had a knack for spotting issues and effortlessly knowing just how to fix them. In his later years, he traded his saddle for a Polaris Ranger and could often be found with his companion dog Jack by his side, cruising around the ranch. When there was a cattle gathering or branding, Harold would be sitting atop of a bucket or cooler, supervising. He enjoyed doing leather work, as well as braiding bull ropes and headstalls. He loved watching old western movies, RFD TV, and the traffic drive by on 27.  A very quick witted man, he had the ability to deliver sharp one liners at the drop of a hat. Harold coined nicknames for everyone he knew, turning even the simplest interactions into unforgettable moments of joy and laughter.

Preceding him in death were his parents, wife Betty, son Dusty, sister and brother in law Joan & Snick Harrison,  brother in law Jack Akers, great nephew JD Hunter, parents in law Vernon & Francis Vincent, and sister in law Pat Rains. Surviving family members include sons; Vernon Lee (Tamara) of Moscow, Kansas, Shawn (Janine) of Sharon Springs, Kansas. Daughter in law Chris of Sharon Springs, Kansas. Grandchildren; Michelle (Kent) Nelson, Katie Baehler (Norman Madrid), Lacey (Gary) Collins, Coltin Baehler, John Baehler (Katie Weaver), Morganne (Jarvis) Carraway, Micah (Blain) Marshall. Great Grandchildren; Caitlin, Tyson, Kali, Kaycee, Karlee, and Kyle Nelson, Bayler Collins, Kruz Carraway. Sister Bobby Akers. Brother and Sister in laws; Emily, Tony, Ginger, Mike, Helen, Jack. Numerous nieces and nephews, family and friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Wallace County Fire Department District 2 and may be left at the services or mailed to Koons-Russell Funeral Home, 211 N Main Ave Goodland, KS 67735.



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