William James Harrison, 80, of Phoenix, Arizona, passed away peacefully at home on February 13th surrounded by his family and friends.
Willie was born on March 13th, 1941 to Bernard and Marie Harrison in Worcester, Massachusetts.
In his early years, Willie served in the United States Navy. After leaving the Navy, Willie started his family in Groton, Massachusetts; where he lived for several years. After remarrying, he moved to McMinnville, Oregon for the next 30+ years and raised a family. He worked for the Portland Shipyard as a steamfitter, but eventually he settled down and began a career as a plumber for the Beaverton School District. He retired after 25+ years of distinguished service. After his retirement he moved from Oregon to California, then eventually settled in Arizona. Willie was a passionate outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing, camping and John Denver. He was also an avid gardener with an amazing green thumb, often growing much of the food for his family. He enjoyed hiking, picking mushrooms in the woods and hunting for four leaf clovers, which he kept and collected. Willie loved to whistle. He would often be heard whistling songs while he worked or performed other tasks. Willie was a master of nicknames. Almost everyone that he ever met in life was given a nickname by Willie and that is how that person was affectionately known from that point forward. Willie loved all of his children and grandchildren dearly and made it a point every year to call each and every one of them on their birthday and sing his own special rendition of “Happy Birthday” to them. He was also known as a giving man who was always kind to everyone. Willie was a man of faith who was very giving of himself and of his time and put in many years of service to the church.
Willie is predeceased by his parents, Bernard and Marie and sister Marion McKelvie (nee Harrison). He was the loving brother of Bernard (Wally) and Charles Harrison. He was the beloved father of eight children; Patricia Harrison, Sandra Harrison (Rain), William James “Jim” Harrison (Angie), Necole Bartley (Richard), Kourtney Fix (Jesse), Brittany Rice, Joshua Harrison (Manny) and Bridget Eschweiler (Jared). Cherished grandfather of nineteen; Paige, Ella, Charlotte, Tate, Matthew, Megan, Brett, Samuel, Andrew, Laney, Rory, Jaxon, Abbie, Landon, Declan, Olivia, Lillian, Thomas and Blake.
Willie will be laid to rest in Massachusetts. Per his request and wishes, there will be no funeral or memorial services. For anyone who would like to express their condolences (in lieu of flowers or cards), the family would prefer a donation to honor Willie’s memory to the Oregon Wildlife Foundation at www.myowf.org
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