Roberta Elizabeth Harbison, 83, of Huber Heights was called home on Sunday evening, June 6, 2021 with her children at her side. Born Sept. 26, 1937, in Clothier, W.Va., she was the daughter of the late Ramie Lawrence Hunter and Zelma Baisden Hunter. She was a 1954 graduate of Van High School. On February 6, 1960, she was united in marriage with Harley Dean Harbison and was his devoted life partner for 33 years through his death on November 18, 1993. Bertie was by Harley’s side throughout his 26-year career with the United States Air Force, supporting their family through duty assignments in South Dakota, Washington, Alaska, Okinawa Japan, Virginia, New Mexico, North Carolina, Turkey, and Dayton. They were members of the Rice Paddy Promenaders Square Dance Club of Okinawa, and maintained a close connection with that group of veterans throughout the rest of their lives. When Bertie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1979, the family returned stateside to Dayton and Wright Patterson Air Force Base where they planted permanent roots. After Harley’s retirement from the Air Force, Bertie and Harley both continued their careers working at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. She was a master quilter, a great cook, and a treasured mother, sister, aunt and friend to so many. Bertie was an active member of her church, Bethel Community Church of the Nazarene, and enjoyed the fellowship of her church family. Bertie fostered a lifelong love of music and hymns that began in her youth, playing piano and singing with her siblings in her father’s tent revivals and church services; a treasured family tradition that continued through recent years. Each Christmas, Bertie would pen an annual letter to friends and family and always ended those letters with the phrase “God is Good.” Her deep and abiding Christian faith was the cornerstone of her life, which began as a tiny premature baby in a warmer fashioned from a shoebox and Mason Jars full of warm water in her rural West Virginia coal camp home. She was a fighter from the beginning and she faced every challenge in her life with an incredible attitude and gratitude for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Bertie is survived by her children Cynthia Marie (Harbison) Collins of Springfield and son and daughter-in-law, Bill and Brenda Harbison of Radnor; sister Sue Maison of Tuppers Plains; brothers, Harry (Barbara) Hunter of Millwood, W.Va., Hansel Hunter of Custer, S.D., Herman (Kathy) Hunter of Mason, W.Va., Homer Hunter of Stony Bottom, W.Va., and sister-in-law Elsie Hunter of Vienna, W.Va. She leaves behind four beloved grandchildren Sean Collins and Sarah Collins of Springfield, and Hunter Harbison and Emily Harbison of Radnor; special great nieces Mary-Patricia (Ira) Wray of Baton Rouge, La. and Hannah (Brian) Kreitzer of Miamisburg, several nieces and nephews, and many, many relatives and friends. In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by her son-in-law, Brett Collins; brothers Herschel “Doc” and Henry Hunter; and sisters-in-law Carolyn Hunter and Mary Hunter. A breast and lung cancer survivor, Bertie was a walking testimony to God’s grace and healing. Her faith and positive attitude were an example to anyone who was lucky enough to cross paths with her, and her testimony, courage and strength inspired so many throughout the years. She led a full and active life bringing that beautiful smile into every room she entered, and will be missed by all those she loved. The family will host a visitation 2 – 6 p.m., Friday, June 11, 2021 at Bethel Community Church of the Nazarene, 4400 Osborn Rd., Medway, with a celebration of life service following at the church Friday evening. Graveside services will take place 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at Madison Memory Gardens, Low Gap Road, Madison, WV. In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates memorial contributions in Bertie’s name to support the Bethel Community Church of the Nazarene or various charities dedicated to breast cancer research and treatment. The family has requested that flower arrangements be ordered through Ruth Elliot Designs, New Carlisle, 937-846-4284. Arrangements entrusted to Trostel, Chapman, Dunbar & Fraley Funeral Home, New Carlisle. Expressions of sympathy may be sent towww.trostelchapman.com
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