Howard Hershberger

Howard Hershberger, Former DewEze President and Harper Industries’ Advisor, Passes

January 11, 2021

Howard Hershberger, President of DewEze Manufacturing from 1981 to 1996, passed away on January 8, 2021. Howard was also one of the initial investors in Harper Industries, founded in 1998 by DewEze staff members who purchased the assets of DewEze Manufacturing from the Owosso Corporation. He was a strong supporter of Harper’s growth and development as well as a trusted advisor to Tim Penner, President, and many other Harper leaders. He will be deeply missed.

Howard was born on November 27, 1926 in Tofield, Alberta, Canada to Owen and Clara Hershberger. His family moved to Hesston, Kansas where he attended high school. He received his A.A. from Hesston College and his B.A. from Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas.

Although Howard had planned a career in medicine, he was forced to withdraw from medical school because of financial need. He had an aptitude for math so accepted a job as an accountant at Hesston Manufacturing Company (which later became Hesston Corporation) and took accounting classes by correspondence. He eventually became Vice-President and Controller. By the time he left 25 years later in 1976, the company had grown from 33 to 3500 employees worldwide.

After five years working as Director of Finance for Hesston College, he accepted the position of President of DewEze Manufacturing, Harper, Kansas. Upon his retirement in 1996, he moved to Hesston where he resided until his death.

Throughout his career, Howard served on many civic and business boards, including those of Hesston Schools, Greensburg Hospital, Prairie View Hospital, and Great Bend Manufacturing. He was an ardent supporter of the Mennonite Church and served on the Mennonite Mission Board, the Mennonite Board of Education and the Hesston College Board of Directors. In addition, he was active in leadership positions in his local church, first at Whitestone Mennonite in Hesston and then Pleasant Valley Mennonite in Harper. He also loved music and sang in quartets and choirs throughout his life.

He is survived by his much-loved wife, Martha (Buckwalter) Hershberger; three sons, John (Chris) Hershberger, Windom, KS, Dan (Marla) Hershberger, Great Falls, MT, and Philip (Diana) Hershberger, Topeka, KS; two daughters, Faith (Tim) Penner, Harper, KS, and Beth (Mark) Goertz, Inman, KS; ten grandchildren; and fifteen great-grandcildren. Howard was preceded in death by his parents, infant daughter, Gwendolyn Hershberger; three brothers and a brother who died in infancy; one sister; one sister-in-law; and one brother-in-law.

Private family services will be held at Eastlawn Cemetery, Hesston. Memorial services will be announced and held at a later date at Whitestone Mennonite Church, Hesston. Friends may pay their respects to Howard on Friday, January 15, 2021 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Miller-Ott Funeral Home, Hesston. The family will not be present. Memorial contributions may be made to Hesston College in care of Miller-Ott Funeral Home, P.O. Box 32, Hesston, KS 67062.

About Harper Industries

Harper Industries, Inc. is a diverse, values-based manufacturing company building quality products in the fields of agriculture, hydraulics, landscaping and sports turf management under the DewEze, Butler and Harper brand names. Call 800-835-1042 for more information on their full line of equipment or visit

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