Cover photo for Thomas Robert Harber's Obituary
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1948 Thomas Harber 2023

Thomas Robert Harber

February 21, 1948 — October 9, 2023



Thomas Robert Harber passed away at his home in Mesquite, Nevada, on October 9, 2023.  He was born in New London, Connecticut, on February 21, 1948, to Melva Bertke Harber and Robert R Harber.

Tom lived in New London until 1959 when his father, who was career Coast Guard, was transferred to Hawaii.  He attended Castle High School in Honolulu in 1963 and 1964.  The family was transferred to St Louis, Missouri, and he graduated from Melville High School in 1966.

He was married for a short time to Martha Cordner and they had one son, Sean. He and Martha divorced and he married Paula Tovey in 1978.

He joined the Air Force in 1969 and served in Vietnam as a Security Police Officer.  After his tour in Vietnam he was sent to Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and while still in the Air Force was selected to attend the Las Vegas Police Academy.  He was discharged on January 25, 1971 and that afternoon started work as a police officer for the City of Las Vegas.  In 1975 he went to work for the State of Nevada Gaming Control Board in the Enforcement Division. He subsequently rejoined the LVMPD in 1977.  He served in various capacities over the years but the last 15 years, until he retired in 1998, were spent in Narcotics. Tom became an expert on clandestine laboratories and the manufacture of methamphetamines and served from 1997 to 2007 as the Executive Director of the Clandestine Laboratories Investigators Association, where he taught police departments throughout the United States and Canada on the identification and take down of illegal labs.

After Tom and Paula retired, they decided to leave Las Vegas and they moved to Riverton, Utah, in 2005. The cold proved to be more that they could stand and in 2008 they moved to Mesquite, Nevada. Tom decided that since he lived in a golf community he needed to learn how to golf and he became completely devoted to it.

Tom started having problems with his feet and hands and discovered in 2011 that as a result of neuropathy because of his exposure to agent orange while in Vietnam he developed Charcot Foot and thus became the start of many surgeries. He had his left leg amputated below the Knee in 2017 and his right leg amputated in 2020. Even with his amputations he still managed to golf three to four times a week. Tom was a legend on the golf course because of his resilience and positive attitude.

He leaves behind his wife, Paula, his son Sean and cousins Sam, Patti and Steve.  His brother-in-laws Terrel Tovey, Weldon Tovey (Vicki), Dave Tovey (Madge) his sister-in-laws Kay Morgan, Marialice Nielson, Sandra Fritzley, Jackie Riley, Leslie Tovey and numerous beloved nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his father, Robert R. Harber; mother, Melva Bertke Harber; brother Richard Harber; father-in-law Lester M. Tovey; mother-in-law Edith Reynolds Tovey; sister-in-laws Edith Muriel Call, Linda Crader, Katie Tovey and Pat Tovey; brother-in-laws Lester Tovey, DeForest Tovey, Paul Tovey, Cleve Morgan, Arthur Riley, Herb Fritzley and Paul Crader.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, December 6, at 12:40 pm at the Southern Nevada Veteran Memorial Cemetery, 1900 Veterans Memorial Drive, Boulder City, NV 89005. Family and friends are invited to sign an online memorial guestbook at  

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

12:30 - 1:00 pm (Pacific time)

Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery

1900 Buchanan Blvd, Boulder City, NV 89005

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