Cover photo for Charles "Chuck" Harper's Obituary
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1960 Chuck 2024

Charles "Chuck" Harper

December 12, 1960 — January 26, 2024

Yankton

Charles “Chuck” LeRoy Harper, age 63 years, passed away unexpectedly on January 26, 2024 in Yankton, South Dakota. Best known as the owner and operator of Chuck’s Sanitary Service, Chuck was a lifelong Yanktonite and familiar face around town. He leaves behind family and friends by whom he will be dearly missed.

 Chuck Harper was born on December 12, 1960 in Bronx, New York to Russ and Betty Harper. He attended Yankton schools and graduated from Yankton High School in 1979. After high school, he entered the workforce and worked at a variety of jobs before founding Chuck’s Sanitary Service, which he operated until his death. He worked alongside his father, Russ in the plumbing and sewage business, as well as with his brother, John in construction. Chuck could fix any machine he was presented with and could disassemble and reassemble most things without any extra parts left over. He was a NASCAR certified mechanic and enjoyed building stock cars as a hobby for several years. He was also a talented welder, adept auto mechanic, and skilled general handyman. If Chuck couldn’t repair something, it was because it couldn’t be repaired.

 Chuck was one of the funniest people you’d ever meet, and he could find the humor (no matter how dry) in most situations. He was a quiet and gentle soul, but could hold forth on just about any topic once you got him started. He was a keen observer of the world and delighted in learning random facts, trivia, and odd minutiae about history and culture. He approached the world with curiosity and loved digging into the guts of something to figure out how it worked.  Chuck was the “go to” guy for so many people. If you needed something, Chuck was always happy to do it – or to connect you with one of his many friends who could take care of it for you. He was also one of the most generous people to walk the earth – if he had something (or could get it) and you needed it, he would make sure you were covered.

 Chuck enjoyed working with his hands, being outdoors (including hunting and fishing), music ranging from classic rock to Jason Isbell and The Indigo Girls, and chatting with friends from “his” stool at the Upper Deck while savoring the daily special and a Bud Light.  

 Chuck was always ready to make a deal, even as a toddler. He frequently bought things because they were a good deal – and then never used them. (This often meant that when you needed something, Chuck had it on hand, no matter how obscure the item.) 

 When you met Chuck, you liked him – a rare quality in a person. Whenever his name was mentioned, it was invariably followed by the comment “Such a good guy!” He was truly the million dollar man to his siblings and friends and he will be sorely missed.

 Chuck is survived by his siblings: Russ Harper, Jr. of Lansing, MI, Beth Harper of Corvallis, OR, Arlene Harper of Irene, SD, John (Barb) Harper of Yankton, SD, Dixie Harper (Hernan Bello Mendoza) of Queens, NY, and Susan Harper (Stephanie Beaver) of Gilbert, IA; a nephew, Duane Larson III of Yankton, SD; two nieces, Jeannie Larson of Spearfish, SD and Calla Harper of Irene, SD; and a wide-ranging network of friends. Chuck was preceded in death by his parents, Russ and Betty; sister, Helen Larson; and infant brother, Robert.

 Chuck was unfailingly generous, and his loved ones hope that all of us can take some of that spirit forward into the rest of our days with us. 

 No funeral services are planned at this time. Burial of Chuck’s cremated remains will take place at a later date.   Arrangements are under the direction of the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Yankton.

 In lieu of flowers, the family requests that those who wish to remember Chuck do a random act of kindness for someone in his name. Those wishing to donate in order to continue Chuck’s legacy of generosity can direct donations to the Contact Center in Yankton, particularly towards The Backpack Project, or to an agency of your choice doing good in the Yankton community.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charles "Chuck" Harper, please visit our flower store.

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