August 1, 1949 - March 3, 2021
Dirk Richard Harris, 71, passed away peacefully with his wife and son by his side after a full and active life. He bravely fought a rare early-onset Primary Progressive Aphasia for 10 years with cheerfulness and immense grace. He was a great father, husband, brother, cousin, uncle, grandfather, athlete, and good friend to many.
Dirk was born at Carmel Hospital, grew up on the Monterey Peninsula, graduated from Monterey High School in 1967, excelled in basketball, and obtained a full-ride basketball scholarship to UC Hayward, yet was unable to attend.
His high school sweetheart, Maryann Jensen, and he created a wonderful son, Russ, right before he was drafted into the Vietnam war. Dirk served in an Army pipe fitting unit in Ft Leonard Wood, Missouri before the war ended.
After returning to Monterey, he and Maryann amicably divorced and remained life-long friends while supporting Russ. Dirk was a devoted long-distance Dad while his son was in Mississippi with Maryann and her husband, Jim Hamilton. Russ visited Dirk every summer and Dirk went to Mississippi to watch Russ' sports events from age 3 through college. He was also Russ' Best Man.
Dirk attended Monterey Peninsula College, obtaining his AA. After working at California-American Water Co for 6 years, and the army, he then followed his father's and brother's footsteps, and became a carpenter. Dirk was known for his precise skills as a finish carpenter. He was a professional carpenter for 30 years and a member of the Carpenter's Local Union 605 for over 42 years.
In 1997 he married a long-time family friend, and love of his life, Karen L. Rice. He then enjoyed a new phase of life traveling, walks around the Monterey Peninsula, dancing, going to concerts, especially loving the Monterey Blues Festival as a 20+ years season ticketholder. They worked to make each other's dreams a reality, which was beautiful.
He also played league basketball and tennis and made many friends on both courts. Dirk and his family were founding members of Meadowbrook Swim & Tennis Club. He was a proud member of the USTA, following his famous mother's passion for the game. Dirk was rarely seen without a tennis racket in his hand. He and Karen attended the US Open, Wimbledon and the French Open tournaments.
Always wanting to play, Dirk enjoyed many other sports including baseball, pool, horseshoes, ping-pong, corn-hole, bicycling, sailing, hiking, and SCUBA diving. He loved a lively card game and going to Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe to play Blackjack.
Friends thought of him as a handsome gentle giant, as he stood 6'5". Dirk was warm, kind, jovial, attentive, meticulous, steady, calm, wise, loving and gave the BEST bear hugs.
Dirk is survived by his adoring wife, Karen Rice Harris; son, Russ Richard Harris (Gigi Blanchard); siblings B. Marshall, Judi Leavelle King (Bill), Chris (Laurie Meech), and Kim Harris; grandchildren Peter, Georgie Mae, Mary, and Therese; 1 nephew, 2 nieces, 1 great nephew and 2 great nieces, and 1 great great niece. He is predeceased by his father Bruce Richard Harris, beloved mother Jean Parsons Harris.
Special gratitude for the loving caregivers, nurses, and staff at Silverado Belmont Hills Memory Care for making Dirk's last 4 years so enjoyable.
His ashes will be interned with private services at the El Encinal Cemetery in Monterey, CA, and at the Saint Bernard Cemetery #2 in Breaux Bridge, LA. A Celebration of Life will be scheduled and announced later due to COVID pandemic restrictions. Donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association
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