Robert (Capt. Bob) Harland 78, passed away in the care of Community Hospice at Lakeside of Amelia in Fernandina Beach, Florida on August 1, 2020. He lost a multi-year battle with cancer and dementia.
He was born in Marshalltown, Iowa on August 6, 1941 to Ervine P. Harland and Velma Grace Harland.
He graduated from Marshalltown High School in 1960. He enlisted in the US Navy in 1961 and was assigned to a number of Naval stations in the US. After his honorable discharge in 1967, he moved to Key West, Florida where he had been stationed at the US Naval Air Station. In 1970, he married Linda (Lyn) Fern Collins whom he met while she was vacationing in Key West.
In addition to wonderful wood working and construction skills, Bob had an amazing entrepreneurial business sense and the ability to perceive market needs. His first business, Angler’s Dive Shop, was started on Stock Island just west of Key West and offered a wide array of merchandise. It sold all types of fishing and diving gear, rented boats, schedule fishing and reef diving trips. If he did not have it, he arranged to provide it. After several successful years, Bob and Lyn, moved the business to the Sears Mall in Key West and changed the name to “The Lettermen”. The additional space at that location allowed them to expand and broaden the amount and type sporting merchandise but to continue to offer many personal fishing and diving services.
When retirement time came, they moved north to De Land, Florida and purchased a fern farm. In 1987, ornamental plants and flowers surpassed citrus as Florida’s top cash crop. Ferns are not only sold throughout the US but large amounts are exported. As the challenges of fern farming grew, they felt it was time to build their dream retirement home, so they purchased a lot near long-time friends from Key West in Pierson, Florida. As Bob’s construction of their retirement house and his wood working barn was approaching completion, the fern farm was sold. Bob and Lyn finally started to retire full time.
Lyn passed away after a long battle with cancer in 2013. Bob was also preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, James Harland, Bruce Harland and John Clemens. He is survived by his sister Connee Gates, Salt Lake City, Utah, and brother, Michael Clemens, Fernandina Beach, Florida. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws.
Bob will be buried next to his wife in Evergreen Cemetery in Union Springs, New York.
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