William Thomas Harris (12/03/1930 - 05/27/2011)

3 entries
  • "I am so sorry for your loss. I met Billy through my..."
    - Karolynn Thompson
  • "To Alice, Billy Jr., Gail and RIck, we are very sorry for..."
  • "I am so sorry for your loss, my heart and love goes to all..."
    - Bonnie Wolford,Brooks
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William "Billy" Thomas

William Thomas Harris (Billy) was born on December 3, 1930 in Duguayville, New Brunswick Canada to Herbert and Dorothy Harris. He passed away peacefully in his home on May 27, 2011. He grew up in the small town of Dorchester New Brunswick, playing baseball when it was warm and hockey in the winter when the local frog pond froze over. His love of sports paid off when his natural athletic ability was noticed by baseball and hockey scouts. He signed a contract with the Dodgers organization as a pitcher, which launched his career when he was just 19 years old. His professional baseball career lasted about fifteen years taking him to many cities in the U.S. as well as playing winter baseball in South America. He pitched for the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers in 1957 and 1959 playing with baseball greats Tommy Lasorda, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campenella, Sparky Anderson, Duke Snyder and Jackie Robinson. An arm injury shortened his Major League career and he came to Washington to play with the AAA Spokane Indians, and in the mid 1960's he became a player/coach for the Tri-City Braves. Billy lived and breathed baseball. Softball replaced hardball and he and a group of friends formed a team sponsored by the Playboy Tavern in Kennewick. His team went on to win state and regional championships, making it to nationals twice. Billy opened Billy's Bull Pen Tavern in the 1980's and he continued to run it until he became ill. During his lifetime, he was inducted into several hometown and big town Halls of Fame, including the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame for hockey and baseball in 1978, the Central Washington Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. Billy's greatest loves can be summed up in five, his family, friends, baseball, hockey and horse racing. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Alice, by his children Billy Jr, Gail (Brian) Everett, and Rick (Deena) Harris. Grandchildren include Tyler, Justin, Nicholas, Jake and Bella Harris, and Lexi and Breanna Baasch, his nieces are Maude MacKenzie, and Laurie Ann Saulnier, and nephews Tommy Saulnier and Coleman Spence. He is preceded in death by his sisters Betty and Jeannette. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, June 11 at 1 pm at Holy Spirit Parish Community Center, 7409 W. Clearwater in Kennewick. The family asks friends to write down your memories and send to [email protected], drop off at the Bull Pen or celebration. If you wish to make a donation, contributions for the Billy Harris Youth Sports Scholarship Fund, to help assist low income youth in Eastern Washington can be written and mailed to West Central Community Center, (WCCC) Attention Rick Harris, 1603 N. Belt Spokane, WA 99205.

Published in Spokesman-Review from June 5 to June 6, 2011
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