Mr. Clarence Michael "Mike" Harrison, age 71, of Gainesville, Ga., passed away Tuesday, April 16, 2013, following an extended illness.
A celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 18, 2013, at The First Baptist Church in Gainesville. Dr. Bill Coates will officiate. Interment will be in Alta Vista Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at the funeral home.
Mike was born and raised in Gainesville, Ga., and was a member of the 1960 Gainesville High School graduating class. He attended Mercer University and the University of Georgia
where he earned a degree in business and was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He began his military career at UGA when he joined the ROTC program. After graduation he joined the U.S. Army
and served as a First Lieutenant in Korea. Once he returned home, he was promoted to Captain, and commanded the Gainesville Army Reserve Unit for three years before retiring.
His career was an obvious choice. Mike settled in Gainesville and worked with his father at their family business, Harrison Oil and Tire Co. He eventually became owner and president of the company when his father retired. The business has been in his family for 80 years and he has remained an active part of the daily business until his health prevented him from going to work everyday. He ran a successful business that was built on honesty and serving his customers well. His reputation was second to none. During his career, Mike was an active participant in professional associations including a member and president of the Georgia Tire Dealers Association, member and president of the Atlanta Metro Tire Dealers and member and board member of the Georgia Oilman's Association.
Mike was very active in Boy Scouts from the time he first joined a Gainesville Civic Center pack when he was 8 years old. He was a member of Troop 26 and a member of the Order of the Arrow. As an adult, he founded both Pack 200 and then Pack 26 of First Baptist Church and served as Cub Master. He then became an Assistant Scout Master for Troop 26. In 2002, in recognition of all his service to the Boy Scouts, Mike received The Silver Beaver Award, the highest award of honor a volunteer can receive.
Mike always believed that you get out of a community what you put into it and that is certainly how he lived his life. He especially loved helping and leading young people and the lives he touched are innumerable. In addition to all his work with the Boy Scouts, he was president of Enota Elementary PTA, a baseball coach and a member of First Baptist Church, where he was a Sunday school teacher and a sponsor of the First Baptist Church youth choir. He also helped with mission trips. Mike was also active in many local civic organizations including Gainesville Rotary Club
, Chamber of Commerce, American Legion and the Elks Club
. He served on the Board of Directors for the Hall County Humane Society of Northeast Georgia for over 11 years. During that time, he was treasurer and president for several years and was instrumental in building their new facility and made sure that they ended the process debt-free. Mike was proud to be a founding member of the Old Men's Coffee Club that still meets each day at Longstreet Café in Gainesville.
It is impossible to sum up the remarkable life of Mike Harrison, but to his family he was simply a son, a brother, a husband, a father and a Papa. He was honest, hard-working, prompt, humble and generous. He was a UGA lover, a Falcons fan and always a GHS Big Red Elephant. He was a joker, a sunset watcher and a friend.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence Michael Harrison Sr. and Irene Carlan Harrison; and a sister, Clairese Harrison.
He is survived by his wife, Judy Evans Harrison of Gainesville; daughter, Christy Harrison Fuller and her husband, Karl Fuller, of Johns Creek, Ga.; son, James "Jim" Michael Harrison Sr. and his wife, Amy Ballew Harrison; granddaughter, Emma Claire Fuller; grandsons, James Michael Harrison Jr., Mason Fuller and William Harrison; dear friends, Ron and Marcia Christopher of Gainesville, Ga., and Jon and Jenny Canada and their children, Kayla and Carson, all of Gainesville, Ga.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the First Baptist Church Building Fund, Our Faith Our Future, 751 Green St., Gainesville, GA 30501.
Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel, 989 Riverside Drive, Gainesville, GA 30501. 770-297-6200. Online condolences at www.memorialparkfuneralhomes.com.