Cover photo for Roland Rea Harbin's Obituary
Roland Rea Harbin Profile Photo
1942 Roland 2024

Roland Rea Harbin

February 9, 1942 — January 11, 2024



Roland Rea Harbin passed away peacefully at home on January 11, 2024, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Roland was born in 1942 to Esther Louise (nee Rea) and Jesse Francis Harbin in Refugio, Texas. He grew up in Texas, graduating from Crystal City High School in 1960 and St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, in 1964. He then worked for Catholic Extension in Chicago, where he met his wife, Margaret “Penny” McGonegal. Roland was drafted in 1966 and stationed at William Beaumont General Hospital at Ft. Bliss. After marrying that year, Penny joined Roland in El Paso. Upon his discharge, they moved to Wilmington, DE, and Roland started his long career teaching high school and junior high science.

Roland had many interests, including all kinds of music. He was a lifelong birder and enjoyed spending days outside in nature preserves. He was the family genealogist and traced the Harbin family roots back to 16th-century England. He was an avid reader with interests ranging from science to history to science fiction. Roland and Penny enjoyed traveling and took trips to Ireland, the U.S. southwest, Italy, and the UK. 

Roland loved spending time with his 3 children, their spouses, and friends, and he adored his 4 grandchildren, sharing family stories with them and attending swim matches, soccer games, and band concerts.

Roland is survived by his wife of 57 years, Penny, and his children: Robert Harbin and wife Susan Gray, Matthew Harbin and wife Theresa DeGiralamo Harbin, and Lisa Harbin and husband Robert Atkinson. His beloved grandchildren Anna, Sara, Evan, and Esther also survive him. He is also survived by his McGonegal in-laws and many cousins. 
A funeral mass for Roland Harbin will be held on Saturday, January 20, 2024, at 1 p.m. at St. Katherine Drexel Catholic Church, 8428 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, MD 21702. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Moveable Feast ( Roland’s family would like to thank his many Right at Home home health aides and the Frederick Health Hospice staff who cared for him in his final weeks.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Roland Rea Harbin, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, January 20, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church

8428 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, MD 21702

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