January 23, 1925 - April 26, 2016
Commander Harry H. Ferrier lost his final battle on April 26, 2016. He was 91.
Harry was born on January 23, 1925 in Springfield, Massachusetts. His father died when he was thirteen years old. After three turbulent years, he left school and convinced his mother to falsify his birth certificate so that he could enlist in the Navy at the age of sixteen.
He enlisted on January 28, 1941. This was the beginning of an amazing military career of 30 years. His first combat action came at the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942 as a member of Torpedo Squadron Eight. Their six TBF-1 Avengers took off from Midway Atoll that morning his plane was the only one of the six planes that survived he was 17 years old. He received his first temporary commission as an Ensign in January 1945 while on his third combat tour. He requested to revert back to Chief Petty Officer so that he could return to flying.
At the beginning of the Korean War he received his second temporary commission as an Ensign. He was then assigned to the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project in Albuquerque, NM where he participated in several atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in the Nevada desert. It was during this time as a Lieutenant that he applied and received a permanent commission as Limited Duty Officer. He had to revert back to the rank of Ensign for a third time.
In 1958 he received orders to NAS Whidbey Island to join the Heavy Attack Squadron 123. He had two deployments to Alaska and then was assigned to the USS Princeton and made three combat tours to Vietnam.
He retired in September 1970 as a Commander after serving 30 years including time during WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal (three awards), four Presidential Unit Citations and several theater of operations medals and awards.
In 1997 he was honored by being inducted in the Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor at the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier Museum. In 1998 his flight crew from the Battle of Midway was inducted into the Confederated Air Forces' American Combat Airman Hall of Fame, and in 2003 he was awarded the Chester Nimitz Award for distinguished service to the U;.S. Navy in World War II.
Following his retirement, Harry was active in local politics as Oak Harbor, WA became his new permanent residence. He was elected to the Oak Harbor School District Board of Directors. He served as the President of the Board for five of the six years that he was on the board. He then served two years on the Island County Planning Commission. In 1981 he was appointed as the Island County Auditor and then was elected and re-elected for a total of three terms.
He was preceded in death by his first wife Christie who died in 1989 they were married for 44 years.
He married his second wife, Evelyn Koetje in 1990, and she died in 2010 they were married for 20 years. He is survived by his two children, Susan Harmon of Spokane and Harry Ferrier, Jr. of Burlington. He has four granddaughters, Carey Weiler; Julie Wasson; Sara Ferrier and Jackie Gibbon; and eight great-grandchildren, Jordan, Ryan, Madison, Jameson, Piper, Charlie, Avanel and Calvin.
The family suggests donations to Heritage Flight Museum, 15053 Crosswind Drive, Burlington, WA 98233. Funeral Service will be held Friday, April 29th at 11:00 am at Burley Funeral Chapel, Oak Harbor, Washington.
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Published by Skagit Valley Herald from Apr. 27 to Apr. 28, 2016.