Bob Harte was an American trapper, hunter, fisherman and television personality born on January 23, 1951 in New Jersey, USA. He was known for appearing on the reality TV show “The Last Alaskans” until his death in 2017.
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Bob was the only son of Vernon and Eleanor Harte. Growing up in Jersey City, he played baseball and was fascinated by outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing, developing a sense of independence from an early age. In his youth, Bob’s grandfather was in charge of teaching building skills, which he used later in life.
There is not much information about Bob’s education, although it is known that he attended college for a short time and dropped out when he chose the Alaskan lifestyle instead.
Bob is known to have been an avid motorcyclist, experienced firearms proprietor and “aircraft pilot,” although the exact time when he learned those skills is uncertain.
It is not certain when Bob became interested in the Alaskan lifestyle. However, his interest was certainly piqued by books he read about it, leading him to move permanently to Southeast Alaska at the age of 21. His first location was on a camping field near Wrangell, where he apparently survived for a few years on his own.
He then immersed himself in the north at Fort Yukon and established his home in several places in the area. There he met several people with the same lifestyle, including one of his neighbor friends Heimo Kortas he stated: ‘In March 1976 I first met Bob.
After I got to town, we were there with seven trappers, and we all loved to hunt and trap, and we had that in common.”
It is suspected that it was during this time that Bob met Nancy Becker, who would later become his wife.
Around 1977 and after an abandoned fall line, Bob found the place he would call home for the next 40 years in Brooks Range, an extension of the Rocky Mountains, largely uninhabited. Harte set his own traps in the area, explored it and lived off the land for decades
Mountain hut and family
It is uncertain when exactly Bob married Nancy Harte (née Becker), although it is known in 1984 that they welcomed their first and only daughter, Talicia.
Posted by Bob Harte Fan Club On Friday 20 May 2016
By this time Bob had settled in Brooks Range, the family lived separately and years passed until they finally moved in with him, along with Nancy’s first son from a previous marriage, named Steve.
Life with his family brought great happiness to Bob, who remembered that time as his most precious memories: ‘Family is very important to me. I wouldn’t want to be someone with nothing and I have something.”
In the early 1990s, Bob Harte traveled to Russia, where he took part in a trapper exchange between the US and Eastern European countries. Harte was particularly proud of such an achievement and was imprisoned and hunted with Russian families with the intention of closing the cultural and political divide that had separated the two nations for decades.
Back in Alaska, Harte worked part-time as a carpenter in Fairbanks. Unfortunately, his marriage to Nancy ended at an unknown time, but despite this, his relationship with his daughter remained the same.
TV Debut – The Last Alaskans
Bob Harte’s debut on TV was in “The Last Alaskans,” a reality documentary series that premiered on Animal Planet on May 25, 2015. The show focuses on several families living in various isolated areas of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest natural refuge in the US. Although human habitation in this protected area was banned by the government in 1980 to protect the delicate ecosystem, seven people were granted residence permits to continue living there.
“The Last Alaskans” was well received by viewers, who were impressed not only by the production of the show, but also by the lifestyle and portrayal of the stars, such as Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times noted: ‘Unlike other shows, here the quests for sustenance are presented merely as facts of life. The compelling part of the series is the why: why live like that? The answers vary, and although the subjects sometimes raise the question directly, the reasons usually emerge slowly as the patient camera gets to know you.’
The show was renewed in 2016 for its second season, now showing on the sibling network Discovery Channel. Bob Harte’s last appearance was in the show’s third season, which aired in 2017.
Talicia Harte was involved in a car accident in 2006, which left her with a disability at the age of 22 and required many hours of physical therapy. Her father Bob, who loved her deeply, did his best to support her afterwards: ‘My daughter is a lot like me. She’s a survivor. She’s rock hard. Talicia was a very active young woman, but then she had an accident. She was handicapped by a man talking on his cell phone and going straight for her. I am 64 years old. I don’t know how many years I have left, but I would like to take care of my daughter,” he recalled on an episode of “The Last Alaskans.”
Although Talicia’s romantic life and marital status are unknown, in 2016 she gave birth to Bob’s only granddaughter Cornella. He promised to build a hut so that they could live comfortably.
Surviving on his own in a remote Alaskan spot, Bob Harte’s life was always in danger. But even before devoting his life to living in the wilderness, he defied death in several ways. Not only did Bob survive being hit on his motorcycle and that his ‘plane twicehe was also lucky enough to be alive after shooting himself and accidentally flooding his boat in icy water.
His life was once again on the line when he underwent brain surgery and later in life developed cancer. In every situation, his friends and family’s joke that he had nine lives turned out to be true.
After spending a full day celebrating his life with loved ones, Bob Harte passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 21, 2017 in Fairbanks at the age of 66, after years of battling cancer.
In 2018, Bob’s daughter Talicia and her mother Nancy gave an interview Monsters and Criticsguiding a tour of his mountain cabin as they talk about their experience of his death.
Nancy also gave a heartfelt reflection on his departure: “He made his home here and he loved it here. He and his dogs were here… he’s part of this whole area. It’s not “his” property, he’s part of it. He’s just a living being with the land, with everything here. So it was his life. It was his joy, his delight and where he found peace and happiness was here… it was Bob.’
Bob Harte’s estimated net worth was $600,000 at the time of his death, as a result of his appearances in the TV series “The Last Alaskans”.
Bob Harte was a man of white ethnicity. He was slim build, had blond hair and green eyes. He was 1.75 m tall and weighed 72 kg.
Bob Harte’s favorite spot was a high rock near his mountain cabin, which he called “the throne.” He spent time there admiring the landscape in solitude.
In Bob’s obituary, his family compared his life to Frank Sinatra’s song “My Way.”
Bob loved all his family and friends dearly and was grateful to them when he died.