Roger B. "Buddy" Harris (1944 - 2017)

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Roger B. "Buddy" Harris, 73, passed away at his home in Nikiski, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, with his wife of 48 years, Joreen, beside him.

His ashes will be scattered in Cook Inlet in the summer of 2018.

"Buddy," a nickname given to him as a child by his mother, June, was born on Feb. 2, 1944 in Spokane, Washington. In 1946, he moved with his family to Valdez. He graduated from Anchorage High School in 1961. In 1968, he met Joreen Huf and married her a year later, on June 28, 1969 in Kenai. Together they spent a life raising a family and building a commercial fishing business.

He began his service to country and community at the age of 19, as a Special Forces Green Beret in the Army. His service to his local community began in 1969 as a volunteer for the Nikiski Fire Department. In 1980, he was licensed as a paramedic, being one of the first in the State of Alaska. In 1986, he retired from the Nikiski Fire Department as a Battalion Chief/Paramedic.

From 1975 to 2011, his strong will, perseverance, and dedication led him onto the waters of Alaska commercial fishing. He spent 36 years, most of them with his wife beside him, salmon drift fishing in Cook Inlet, longlining for halibut and black cod in the Gulf of Alaska, and herring fishing in the waters of Kodiak. His family will remember the smile on his face from the stern picking fish, or idling out the Kenai River from the flying bridge, aboard his boat the F/V Sirrah, named for the family, Harris spelled backwards.

He was a board member for United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) and member since the inception in 1980. He served on the board of directors for Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, North Peninsula Recreation Board, and belonged to NAEMT. In 2006, he was awarded the "Outstanding Individual for Contribution to Commercial Fishing" at Industry Awareness Day in Kenai.

Buddy loved a good joke, traveling, watching Duke basketball, and Seattle Seahawks football. He jumped out of perfectly good airplanes; his first jump at Fort Benning, Georgia was an emergency bail-out over Georgia and Alabama. He ran into burning buildings as a fireman, and delivered seven babies, bringing life into the world.

"Bud" above all else loved his family. He is survived by his wife, Joreen; three children, daughter Shelley Harris, son JT Harris and wife Alyse, daughter Micki and husband Richie Patterson, grandchildren, Kyrah, Ayden, Brendan, Justin, Dylan, Alina, Ashlyn, Landen, and Kelton, as well as loving mother-in-law Peggy and husband Don Deitz, sister and brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death were his mother June, father Rodger, step-father Glen, and brother Kent.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Michael J. Fox Foundation Parkinson's Research, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014.

Condolence cards may be sent to P.O. Box 7013, Nikiski, Alaska 99635.

Arrangements were by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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Peninsula Memorial Chapel
5839 Kenai Spur Hwy.
Kenai, AK 99611
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Published in The Peninsula Clarion on Dec. 8, 2017
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