Donald Francis Harrison(1929 - 2013)

Donald Francis Harrison August 14, 1929 - July 29, 2013 Don Harrison was born August 17, 1929 in Spokane, Washington to Hyla and Francis Harrison but was raised in the family's hometown of Lewiston, Idaho. Don graduated from Lewiston High School where he was an all state performer in football, basketball and baseball. He attended the University of Idaho on a baseball scholarship and graduated with both a bachelor's and master's Degree in education. It was while attending college that Don met Dorothy Wahl. They were married on December 27, 1954. After graduation, Don entered the Marine Corp and earned the rank of Captain. After leaving the Corp, Don and Dorothy moved to Bakersfield, California where Don was hired as an assistant coach and PE teacher at Bakersfield High. From his first day on campus, Don lived the Driller motto, "Once a Driller, Always a Driller." His work ethic and commitment to the students quickly propelled him to positions of Head Coach, Athletic Director, and Vice Principal. Known to many as Mr. BHS, Don's pure devotion for recognizing student athletes extended beyond the Driller field to all student athletes in Kern County. After 23 years at BHS, Don became Director of General Services for the Kern High School District and Commissioner of Athletics for all Kern County Schools. In addition, Don represented the CIF Central Section as Athletic Commissioner until the age of 75 and was an active volunteer in the Jockey Club for 25 years. He was inducted into the Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame and the Bakersfield High School Driller Hall of Fame. To further recognize his prominence within the Athletic Community, a field at Aera Baseball Park was named after him. Don was humbled by each and every selection and honor but would have rather talked about the status of his beloved Drillers or the performance of a rising Bakersfield athlete. Don was a member of the Elk's Lodge BPOE #266 for 61 years and an active member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish where he and Dorothy raised their children and where their son Monsignor Craig currently serves as Pastor. Don is predeceased by his parents, an infant son, Jeffrey Donald, and by daughter Nancy Harrison Frey in 2008. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Dorothy; son Rick (Karen) and his children Kate, Thomas and Kelly; son Monsignor Craig; daughter Susan Reed and her son Harrison, by Nancy's son, Jack and the additional blessing of ten step grandchildren: Jessica, Jackie, Roy, Billy, Herky, Juan, Jose, Rudy, Mark and Greg. Don's life was enriched by lifelong friends especially Rich Morgan and by many friends with whom he and Dorothy would travel with in later years. As his health declined, the family has been surrounded by so many generous and caring friends including an entire parish who prayed on Don's behalf. Don resided at Spruce Gardens but was moved to his son's home in his final days to be reunited with Dorothy. Don passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. The family would like to thank Spruce Gardens, Dr. Cousin, Dr. Patel, caregivers, Rosie, Veronica, Lori and nurses, Donelle and Georgia from Around the Clock Care. Each one of them knew the most important part of Don's care was knowing his only channel was ESPN! In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the St. Francis Youth Center Fund or the St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Center c/o St. Francis Church 900 H St. Bakersfield, CA 93304 Rosary will be held Thursday, August 1st at 6:30 pm at St. Francis Parish 900 H St. Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday August 2nd at 10 am at St. Francis with reception to follow in the parish hall. A private family burial will follow. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26

Published in Bakersfield Californian from July 31 to Aug. 1, 2013