Donald Harris

Donald L. "Don" Harris

Battle Creek

Donald L. "Don" Harris, age 89, of Battle Creek, MI, died on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 2013, at Lifespan Good Samaritan Hospice Residence, Battle Creek, following a brief illness and surrounded by his loving family.

Don, the son of Byron and Gem (Lawrence) Harris, was born on September 25, 1924, in Hammond, IN; was a 1942 graduate of Horace Mann High School of Gary, IN and moved to this area in 1974.

He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University in 1951.  Don 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-29?s during the Japan and Eastern Mandates Air Offensives.  He continued his service in the United States Air Force retiring from active duty in 1979 as a Lieutenant Colonel.  Don also 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. Don always believed in education and keeping his mind sharp, so he was frequently seen completing many types of crossword puzzles.  His love for words and his sense of humor made him widely known as a "punster," amusing those around him.  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.  And, because of his love for music, he could come up with a song from his yesteryear at a drop of the hat and entertain us with his singing.

On November 8, 1952, in Lansing, MI, Don was united in marriage to the love of his life, the former Ruth H. Soule'.

Surviving are his wife of 61 years, Ruth; his daughter, Terrilyn R. (Marvin) Schneider of Bellevue, MI; 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, MI; and Brian L. (Toni) Harris of Battle Creek; sixteen grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren.  Don was preceded in death by his parents; his daughter, Denise E. Harris in 1953; and two brothers, Lynn and Kenneth Harris.

The Memorial Service to celebrate Don's life will be held on Friday, December 13, at 11:00 a.m. at Grace Community Church, 9037 Pennfield Road, Battle Creek, with the Rev. Brad Smith, Pastor, officiating. Interment will follow at Hicks Cemetery, Pennfield Township, with full military honors bestowed by the United States Air Force Honor Guard from Wright-Patterson AFB, OH.  Friends will be received from 10:00 a.m. until service time at the church on Friday.  Family and friends are invited to continue Don's life celebration immediately following the committal service with a time of fellowship and a luncheon in the church's Fellowship Hall.  Memorial contributions in Don's honor 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 is in charge of all the arrangements.

Personal messages for the family and/or favorite memories of Don may be placed at


Published in Battle Creek Enquirer on Dec. 11, 2013