Donald L. Harris

Dec. 11, 2013

Donald L. "Don" Harris, (BS Mech Egr ’51), of Battle Creek, MI, died on Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7, 2013, at Lifespan Good Samaritan Hospice Residence, Battle Creek, following a brief illness and surrounded by his loving family.

Harris, 89, was the son of the late Byron and Gem (Lawrence) Harris, and was born on Sept. 25, 1924, in Hammond, IN. He was a 1942 graduate of Horace Mann High School of Gary, Ind. and moved to Battle Creek in 1974.

He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University in 1951. 

He served his country honorably during World War II as a First Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps with the 20th Air Force, 501st Bomb Group, 41st Bomb Squadron and he flew B-29s during the Japan and Eastern Mandates Air Offensives.  He continued his service in the U.S. Air Force, retiring from active duty in 1979 as a Lieutenant Colonel. 

Harris was a general engineer at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center of Battle Creek attached to the FEMA Division from 1974 until retiring in 1985. 

He was involved with many associations including, the Air Force Association; the American Legion, Post #298; the National Association of Retired Federal Employees; the 315th Bomb Wing Association; and Registered Professional Engineers.

He enjoyed stamp and coin collecting most of his life and, in his never ending attempt to master something new, learned how to knit, sew needlepoint, and make hooked rugs.  He loved music and singing.

On Nov. 8, 1952, he was united in marriage to Ruth H. Soule in Lansing. Surviving are his wife of 61 years, Ruth; his daughter, Terrilyn R. (Marvin) Schneider of Bellevue; five sons: Dennis R. (Debbie) Harris of Palm Coast, FL; Michael L Harris, of Alvarado, TX; Jeffrey L. Harris of Jacksonville, TX; Kevin L. Harris of Augusta, and Brian L. (Toni) Harris of Battle Creek; 16 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his parents; his daughter, Denise E. Harris in 1953; and two brothers, Lynn and Kenneth Harris.

A memorial service was Dec. 13, 2013, at Grace Community Church, 9037 Pennfield Road, Battle Creek, with burial at Hicks Cemetery, Pennfield Township, with full military honors bestowed by the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard from Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. 

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Lifespan Good Samaritan Hospice Residence, 5470 Glen Cross Road, Battle Creek, MI, 49015.  The Farley-Estes & Dowdle Funeral Home, Battle Creek, made arrangements. See more at: