Sidney Dale Harberts, 70, of Grundy Center, Iowa, passed away on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at the Grundy County Memorial Hospital. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 18, 2019 at the Bethany Presbyterian Church in Grundy Center. A memorial visitation will be held one hour prior to the memorial service at the church. Inurnment will be held privately. Memorials may be directed to the family. Abels Funeral and Cremation Service, Engelkes Chapel, is assisting the family with arrangements.
Sidney Dale Harberts, of Grundy Center, formerly of Waterloo, Iowa, died Tuesday, November 12, 2019. Sidney was born December 19, 1948 to Dick and Enola (Jacobs) Harberts in Dubuque, Iowa. Sidney was one of six boys, and the family lived in Jefferson and Postville during his childhood, where Dick was a Presbyterian minister. Sidney graduated from Postville High School in 1968, and earned his AA at Ellsworth Junior College while playing basketball. Sidney married Alice Peck in 1969, and played basketball at University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point before leaving school. Sidney was trained as a C&C Machinist and worked at John Deere in Waterloo from 1973 until his retirement (with a break in the 1980s thanks to the farm crisis) in 2008. Sidney had two children with Alice, Richard and Amy. Sidney and Alice divorced in 2001, but remained good friends. Sidney married Maxine Harms of Grundy Center in 2003. Sidney is survived by his wife, Maxine; children, Richard (Brenda Payne) Harberts of Iowa City, and Amy (Trent Olson) Harberts Olson of Ankeny; four grandchildren, Witt Harberts, Payton Olson, Carly Olson, and Morgan Olson; step-children Brad (Rhiannon) Harms of Cedar Falls, and Jodi Verly of Grundy Center; step-grandchildren Claire Verly, Ethan Kappel, Brannon Harms, and Cael Harms; siblings Paul (Lynette) Harberts, Craig (Dorothy) Harberts, and Clark (Julie) Harberts. Sidney was preceded in death by his parents Dick and Enola Harberts, older brothers Stewart and Steven Harberts, his ex-wife Alice Harberts, and step-son Les Verly.
Big Sid was larger than life. He loved working with kids, and was a kind and patient teacher. He coached middle school basketball for 35 years, first at St. Edwards Catholic School in Waterloo and then in Grundy Center. Sid believed everyone was a player, and he coached his teams to play hard but fair. He was passionate about golf and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Sid was kind and generous, ready to make a big meal (and mess) and open his home to those who needed a hand, for however long it took. He was famous for Harberts chicken on the grill, and could be counted on to make a “beautiful” piece of meat for any family gathering. Sid loved music, especially Motown. Sid evolved into a modern father and grandfather as men of his generation did, supportive when Alice went back to college and encouraging his kids to get the education he just missed finishing. Sid was ever present at sports events, whether it was his own kids, grandkids, or other people’s kids- you couldn’t miss his booming voice in the crowd. Sid’s commitment to family and faith was strong. From his early years as a PK (preacher’s kid) through to the end of his life, Sid was faithful in church attendance and in leadership roles too many to list. Sid was always volunteering to usher, sing in the choir, teach Sunday school or lead youth groups, or host golf outings (while getting his kids to help serve steaks and coffee). Speaking of coffee, Sid always had a cup at hand. Sid had a huge laugh and loud voice, and his family enjoyed poking fun with his many legendary Sid-isms. But all fun aside, Sid’s actions revealed his character. During the Deere layoffs in the 1980’s, Sid worked paper routes and odd jobs without complaint to support his family until he was rehired. He was active with the UAW supporting workers rights and was known to have politely asked replacement workers to leave the area during a strike. Sid was always up on current events, and instilled a sense of civic duty and political understanding in his children before that was cool. Sid was quick to defend, in his gentle giant way, anyone who was the underdog or taken advantage of. Sid’s actions showed his commitment to equality, work ethic, and love for life (especially good food!). He will be missed.