WILLIAM HARMON

Notice
  • "Bill Harmon's loving heart enfolded all who crossed his..."
    - Mary Moran
  • "Uncle Bill will be in our hearts forever! Love, Ramona,..."
  • "The USS Remora SS-487 Historian, Reunion Committee and crew..."
    - Robert Sharpe
  • "Bill was a one of a kind man! Always generous of time,..."
    - Julie Seeley
  • "Bill was a wonderful friend and Legion member. Both he and..."
    - James Mattingly

HARMON WILLIAM JOHN HARMON (Age 91) USN (Retired) Born February 14, 1927, in Oliver, PA, died on January 9, 2019, at his home in Wheaton, MD. He was 91 years old. Mr. Harmon is preceded in death by his loving wife of 59 years, Karma Faye. He is survived by three children, Christopher John Harmon (Jean), William Patrick Harmon (Rena), and Richard Michael Harmon (John). He also leaves behind seven grandchildren, Matthew John Harmon (Jen), Colleen Audra Harmon, Laura Katherine Harmon, Michael Christopher Harmon, Mary Kathleen Harmon, Ryan Patrick Harmon, Megan Marie Harmon, and a special niece, Cathy Linn. He is survived by his two loving sisters, Mary Pillar, and Dorothy Zubovic and many devoted nieces, nephews, and friends. Bill was a veteran of World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War. He grew up near the coal mines of Uniontown, PA, born to John Francis and Katherine Harmon. Bill was the oldest of seven brothers and sisters. He joined the Navy in 1944 at the age of 17, with permission from his father, who did not want him to follow in his footsteps as a coal miner. Bill's passion throughout his childhood was to become a pilot, but an injury to his eye disqualified him from air service and he turned his naval career to surface ships including the USS Southerland (DDR 743), ATR 66 Rescue Ocean Tug, the USS Dunn County (LST 762), and the USS Palau (CVE 122). He later qualified for submarines and became a radio operator on the USS Pomphret (SS 391). He would eventually go on to serve on the USS Bream (SSK 243), USS Carp (SSK 338), USS Bugara (SS 331), USS Tira (SS 416), USS Remora (SS 487), USS Tang (SS 562), USS Nautilus (SSN 571) under Admiral William T. Anderson, and the USS Skate (SS 578). During his service with the Navy, he was part of the Naval Intelligence Group as a cryptologist or a "Spook". His duty stations took him from the mountains of Western Pennsylvania to the South China Sea, with one tour in China and two tours in Japan. He tracked foreign naval activity in the straits of Japan, skirting sonar nets to monitor ship movement. He also had duty stations in Adak, Alaska, Iceland, Germany, San Juan, PR, Norfolk, VA, and his beloved Scotland, where he met and continued a lifelong friendship with his best friend Bob Whyte. He retired from the US Navy in 1968 and continued working with Submarines at Vitro/Automation Industries in Aspen Hills, MD, on the 688 Class until he retired in 1988. Bill's lifetime dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary was strengthened when he was on the USS Skate and collision sent the submarine to the bottom of the China Sea. He sought her intercession in the moments of uncertainty that the boat would resurface. His appreciation of her saving his life continued annually on December 8th __ the feast of the Immaculate Conception __ when he honored other subs and submariners lost by drinking "To the Boats". Bill believed that Our Lady saved him for a reason. Years later, he was justified in this belief as he spent 14 years caring for his wife, Karma, who suffered from dementia, at home. Although she was bedridden, he insisted on being her primary caregiver and rarely left her side. His love and dedication to duty are an inspiration to his family. He was truly an American hero. He was proud of his attachment to the various branches of the military but most honored to have served with the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions, to include time in China near Tsingtao. Bill was a member of American Legion Post 268, VFW Post, the Fleet Reserve Association, the Wheaton Optimist Club and a Scout Master for Troop 498 in Holiday Park, MD. He was an usher at St. Catherine Laboure Catholic Church, where he was a parishioner for over 50 years. 73's and 88's. Relatives and friends may call at Collins Funeral Home, 500 University Boulevard West, Silver Spring, MD on Tuesday, January 15 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m., a Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Saint Catherine Laboure Roman Catholic Church, Wheaton, MD, on Wednesday, January 16, from 10 to 11 a.m. Interment will be at the Parklawn Memorial Park. www.Collinsfuneralhome.comwww.Collinsfuneralhome.com
Funeral Home
Francis J. Collins Funeral Home, Inc.
500 University Blvd. West
Silver Spring, MD 20901
301-593-9500
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Published in The Washington Post on Jan. 13, 2019
bullet Korean War bullet U.S. Navy bullet Vietnam War bullet World War II