Harlan W. Bainter

July 7, 1930 ~ July 20, 2019 (age 89)


Judge Harlan W. Bainter, 89, of Salem, IA, died at his home surrounded by family on Saturday, July 20, 2019.
A private committal service will be held at a later date in the Salem East Cemetery in Salem. Those considering an expression of sympathy may direct memorials to Great River Hospice or the Salem Fire & Rescue Dept. Condolences and memorials may be left at the Kimzey Funeral Home where there will be a register book to sign during normal business hours this week. They may also be mailed to the funeral home at 213 N. Main St., Mt. Pleasant, IA, 52641-2058. Online condolences may be directed to
Harlan Worley Bainter was born July 7, 1930 in Escanaba, Michigan. He was the son of William Harold and Frances Mae (Worley) Bainter. Harlan moved to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa at age 10 with his family. He graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School in 1948 and enrolled at the University of Iowa. His education was interrupted in 1951 by the Korean War. He enlisted in the United States Air Force on January 10, 1951 at Camp Des Moines. Harlan became a cryptographer and was assigned to the 6910th Security Group in Germany. During his time of service, Harlan married Josephine Martina Garretson on September 3, 1953 at the Garretson Homestead in rural Salem, Iowa. The couple then returned to Germany where Harlan completed his service. Harlan was honorably discharged as an Airman 1st Class on September 3, 1954 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. The couple returned to Iowa where Harlan continued his education at the University of Iowa, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. He then entered the University of Iowa Law School, graduating in 1958.
In June of 1958, Harlan joined his father at the Bainter & Bainter Law Office in Mt. Pleasant, which he continued after his father's death in 1961. During his 10 years in the practice of law, Harlan also served 4 years as the Henry County Attorney. In November of 1969, Harlan was appointed to the bench by Gov. Robert D. Ray. At 39 years of age, Harlan was the youngest attorney to be appointed as a judge in the state of Iowa at the time. He began his judgeship in February of 1970, serving as a District Court Judge for the 8th Judicial District in Iowa. Harlan remained on the bench full time until 1995, when he was conferred as a Senior Judge. He continued to serve in that capacity for 5 years. After his retirement from the bench, Judge Bainter oversaw Mediation and Arbitration cases. In retirement, Harlan and Josie enjoyed traveling to Gulf Shores, Alabama where they spent the winter months.
Professionally, Harlan was a member of the American Bar Association, the Iowa Bar Association and the National Judges Association. Locally, Harlan was a member of the First United Methodist Church. He was a Past President of the Mt. Pleasant Kiwanis, and a member of the former Jaycees of Mt. Pleasant. He also served as Secretary of the Henry County Fair Board, and he was the first Chairman of the Henry County Conservation Board. Harlan was a passionate steward of the land; in the early 1990s he planted some 16,000 trees on the family homestead in rural Salem, Iowa which have grown into a burgeoning forest today. He was also an avid woodcarver, gardener, cook, and beloved family man.
Those thankful for sharing in Harlan's life include his wife of 65 years, Josephine of Salem; 3 children - Stephany Carrillo and her husband Pete of Iowa City, Seleta Bainter and her husband Jeff Thomas of Mt. Pleasant and William Bainter and his wife Shari of Reno, NV; 6 grandchildren - Will Carrillo, Alex Carrillo and his wife Shannon, Josie Thomas and her husband Tyler Moeller, Nella Thomas Locker and her husband Will Locker, Kara Bainter and Ryan Bainter; 2 great grandchildren Violet Carrillo and Leopold Moeller, with an additional great grandson due in October; and Harlan's sister - Enolia Branstad of Mt. Pleasant.
Harlan's parents preceded him in death.

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