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  • - Becky
  • "My condolences to the family. May the peace of God and the..."
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HARRIS DIRCK HARRIS Master Naturalist, hiker, cyclist, photographer, gardener, and husband of Jane Edwards, died on Thursday, August 31, 2017 at home. The cause of death was Mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos many years earlier. He was born on September 12, 1951 to Donald and Jane Harris in Waterbury, Connecticut. His early years were spent in Scotland, Germany, Connecticut, and Israel while his family traveled with his father's job with the State Department. He attended McLean High School and graduated from Berlin American High School in 1971. Years later, he loved telling the story of German tourists in D.C. who asked for directions in broken English and how he surprised them by answering in fluent German. After graduating from high school, Dirck joined the Navy and was proud to serve on the USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr, the USS William V. Pratt, and the USS Farragut where he worked in the boiler rooms. Following the Navy, Dirck worked as a Printing Specialist for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in Washington, DC for 26 years. Dirck attended Northern Virginia Community College for two years, and his self-education continued forever. He read books on history, wars, ships, science fiction, insects, amphibians, plants, and almost anything you can think of in the natural world. An avid cyclist, he rode in the Sea Gull Century twenty times and RAGBRAI eight times. He typically rode 2,000 to 3,000 miles a year on his bike and knew the model of every bike he passed on the W&OD, where he was president of the Trail Patrol for three years. He loved to rescue snakes and other critters on the trail. An enthusiastic Rail Fan, Dirck could be found with his camera at railroad tracks near and far, taking photos of train engines from sun-up to sun-down. He was also an avid hiker and was a hike leader in the Sierra Club MWROP hikes for many years. He was leading a hike in October 1997 when he met his future wife, Jane. There were 10 hikers, and he said, "I need two drivers besides me." Two people shot up their hands. "Three people will go with each driver, and one will go with me." Fate and general proximity led to Jane riding with Dirck in his truck. The rest was history, and they had twenty happy years together, including marriage in 2015. Due largely to Dirck's efforts, their yard is a Certified Monarch Waystation and Certified Audubon At Home Wildlife Sanctuary. He designed it to attract butterflies, native bees, and wildlife, and was always happy to bring in a snake to show to his wife before releasing it back to the yard. He was a leader for the Christmas bird counts and also for butterfly counts, and was an expert on dragonflies. He is survived by his wife, Jane Edwards; father, Donald Harris; sisters, Maureen (Hiro) Uyama and Jeanne Wardlaw; aunts, Roberta Berglund, Eunice Johnston and Miriam Feest; nieces, Jane, Erin, Jill; nephews, Brian, Ryan, Sam; step-children, Kat (Sam Davies) Zarfas, Davis (Sofia) Zarfas; and grandchildren, Imogen and Lorelai. A memorial service will be held at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Annandale, Virginia on September 23, 2017. In lieu of flowers, please donate to his tribute wall at the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation www.curemeso.org/tributewall, then search for Dirck Harris. Interment will be private. www.fmfh.comwww.fmfh.com
Religious Service Information
St Albans Episcopal Church
6800 Columbia Pike
Annandale, VA 22003
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Published in The Washington Post on Sept. 16, 2017
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