Greenfield - Donald Edward Harris, a resident of South Deerfield, passed away on Saturday, April 6, 2013, several days before his 90th birthday. He was a proud long-term retiree following a 38-year career as a supervisor and manager with the New England Telephone Co. and NYNEX.
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Born in Whately to Phillip and Susie (Hayes) Harris, he lived his entire life in South Deerfield and was a 1940 graduate of Deerfield High School. He was a member of St. James Church and subsequently Holy Family Church, the Franklin County Sportsmen's Club (FCSC), the Telephone Pioneers of America and a life member of the National Rifle Association. He was secretary of the FCSC for over 40 years and was Sportsman of the Year in 1983. He was active in sportsmen's legislative affairs, serving as a delegate to the Massachusetts Sportsmen's Council for many years and named their Sportsman of the Year in 1998. He was an active shooter in black powder, rifle, pistol and trap and skeet sporting clay events. He was a member and past president of the South Deerfield Rod & Gun Club.
As an avid turkey and goose hunter, he was a member of Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation.
He entered the United States Army in March 1943 and trained at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., with the 75th and 97th Infantry Divisions. He attended the Army Specialist Training Program at Colorado State College and the Army Signal Corps School at Fort Monmouth, N.J. He served during World War II with the 58th Signal Repair Company in England, France, Holland and Germany. He was in Nuremburg, Germany, on V-E Day, May 8, 1945, having attained the rank of technician third grade.
He joined the New England Telephone Co. in March 1946 and worked as a lineman, installer-repairman, PBX installer-repairman and as a toll test man. He was appointed toll test supervisor in Worcester in 1962 and was transferred to the Greenfield/Pittsfield/North Adams area. He was appointed trunk coordinator in 1979 for the new electronic switching system installed in Springfield, then appointed project manager in 1980, and retired in 1984. He was a life member of the Telephone Pioneers of America and was president of the Tri-Co Council, president and executive board Member of the William J. Denver Chapter #20 and president of the Greenfield-Northampton Life Member Club.
He served as a special police officer for the town of Deerfield for 25 years as did his twin brother, John Harris, who died in 1992. He was a lector and sexton at St. James Church for over 30 years.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Alice (Childs) Harris; sons James (JC) Harris and his wife Jenny (Trafalgar, Ind.), Chris Harris (San Diego, Calif.) and Shane Harris and his wife Valorie (Bahrain-Middle East); daughters Sandi (Harris) Graves and her husband Michael (Greenfield) and Robyn Harris (Northampton); a sister Betty (Harris) Hollingsworth of South Deerfield; a son-in-law Dennis Patterson and his wife Pat also of South Deerfield; and several grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter, Shannon (Harris) Ryder, in February 2012.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, April 9, at 9:15 a.m. from Wrisley Funeral Home at 90 Sugarload St. in South Deerfield followed by a 10 a.m. Liturgy of Christian Burial at Holy Family Church at 29 Sugarloaf St. Burial will be at the Childs-Margola-Harris section of the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Deerfield.
Calling hours will be Monday from 5 to 8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to either the Holy Family Parish (29 Sugarloaf St., South Deerfield, MA 01373) or to the Franklin County Sportsmen's Club (PO Box 716, Turners Falls, MA 01376).
Expressions of sympathy available at www.wrisleyfuneralhome.com.
Wrisley Funeral Home
90 Sugarloaf Street
South Deerfield, MA 01373
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Apr. 8, 2013