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Our world is now a lesser place. Harry McCallister Double lost his battle with Parkinson's, dying at 94.
Born in Oklahoma in 1919, he was a sickly kid. The family moved to
California at age 6 hoping it would help his health. It worked. He outlived EVERYBODY! He grew up on an orange grove by Terra Bella during the Great Depression. As a young adult, he attended the Pasadena Playhouse. Feeling the draft, he enlisted in the Army Air Forces in October 1941, training as an aircraft mechanic to fight Hitler. To his surprise, there was a war in the Pacific. He ended up at Wheeler Field, Hawaii, then Canton Island, Hawaii again, on to the invasion of Saipan, and finally to Ie Shima next door to Okinawa. He spent most of his service with the 333rd Fighter Squadron, earning 5 campaign stars, and was their senior Master Sgt. at war's end. In 4 years and seven days, he never spent one minute as a private first class. Later, he would look back on his service with considerable pride.
Returning to the Pasadena Playhouse, he met and married his life partner. He and Barbara had 64 years together. He became an electrical contractor (Double Electric, Inc.), and a father in 1954. He could fix a car. remodel a house, build a working flytrap, and use almost any tool imaginable. Once, he automated a sprinkler system with a time clock, some old 78 rpm records, contact switches, and some scrap metal. It's probably still working. He retired in 1986, but stayed active. He drove until 2010.
He was showing signs of Parkinson's when Barbara died, and soon moved into the Regency Park at Fair Oaks. His son Addison moved him into his home in Seattle in October, 2012 as his Parkinson's worsened. His world got smaller, than smaller still, as his balance went away. He went to a nursing home in May. But almost to the end, he still had that big old Harry grin, and there was life left in his eyes. All who met him said what a wonderful and sweet old man he was. Those who know him longer use words like "the best of the best", "so many talents" ,"amazing person", "was there anything he couldn't fix?", and remember " a wonderful man full of life", and his " let's get it done attitude".
His ashes will go to Forest Lawn, perhaps in early March. No date is set, but word will be passed as there will be a ceremony.c
Published in Pasadena Star-News on Jan. 1, 2014