Wess Harper

John Wesley “Wess” Harper
February 6, 1944 – March 26, 2015

Wess Harper, 71, of Bryan, passed away in his home on Thursday, March 26 surrounded by family and friends. A visitation will be from 2 to 4pm on Saturday, March 28 followed by his Celebration of Life Ceremony at 4pm, at St. Michael’s Academy Chapel, 2402 South College Ave, at the corner of Williamson and South College in Bryan. Ceremony Services are in the care of Callaway-Jones Funeral Home and Crematory.

Wess was born in Waurika, Oklahoma to Clifford and Irene Boydstun Harper. Wess enjoyed a full life of excitement and variety. He enjoyed a number of careers beginning with a stint in the U.S. Army as a communications specialist. He then enrolled at Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science where he became a Funeral Director following in his maternal family’s business. He became self-employed owning and operating several funeral homes in the DeLeon/Granger area of Texas; he held Paramedic license #3 in the State of Texas and later taught this vocation. In the early 1980’s he retired from the funeral business and moved to the Bryan area where he worked as a car salesman at Bill Ford. That career morphed into his own used car lot and repossession business. Finally, he owned and operated Harp’s, a neighborhood club where locals gathered to swap BBQ recipes and bad jokes! Folks from Oklahoma to California are now all saying: “Dam it dam it dam it!”

Wess had 2 passions in life, BBQ cooking and horses! He spent many years on the competition BBQ circuit and made many lifelong friends that he always cherished. Horses were always in the background either as a cowboy or on the racetrack. He owned, rode, and raced many good horses in his life. He was a lifelong member of AQHA, IBCA and a Mason. Music held a special place in his heart. He loved country, bluegrass, and gospel; he played many instruments but was known for the wash tub bass.

He is preceded in death by his parents Clifford and Irene Boydstun Harper, his step-father Tommy Powers, his sister Cliffogene Whatley, brother Frances Marion “Chigger” Harper, and nephew Master Sgt. Tommy Harper.

He is survived by his wife & life partner Katy Harper of 18 years; his faithful companion Paisley, an Italian Greyhound rescue dog, who was by his side to the end and his menagerie of fur-babies of dogs, cats and horses, all of the home; his daughter Rachel Vanessa Simpson & her friend Johnny Martinez; his three grandchildren Dillon Kane Wilson, Kloe Vanessa Wilson, and Kamry Alyssa Carter; and a host of friends and other relatives.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in his name to any of the following organizations Urgent Animals of Hearne Texas in care of Robertson Co. Veterinary (in the name of Wess & Paisley Harper), Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society of Texas or Aggieland Humane Society.
A special thank you to those very special friends who were close by at the end, Brazos Valley Hospice nurses Karen and Pam, and his many medical providers including Dr. Danny Smart and his staff at the VA.


  1. Rest in Peace my friend. Say hello to Jim for me. I will miss all the good times we all had at Harps. It’s been a long time. My condolences to you an Katy and all the Family. Peace be with you as you go to that Heavenly place above!

  2. There are no words to describe how we feel about losing Wess. We have many good memories of him, and they will keep him alive in our hearts forever. We love you.

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