January 25, 1934 - March 7, 2022
David O. Harris, dear son of Orin and Eva (Fasso) Harris, beloved husband of the late Theresa Marie (Kerns) Harris, and adored father of six daughters and one son, passed away on the evening of March 7, 2022, at age 88. He was surrounded by his loving family and devoted caregivers at Tuscany Cottage in Malaga, WA, where he resided the last two years of his life. David was born January 25,1934 in Seattle, WA. He had one brother, Robert, who died in infancy. Baptized a Catholic at Holy Rosary parish, he was raised by his mother above Boeing field on Beacon Hill. The grandson of Italian, Irish, and German-Russian immigrants, David was aware of his good fortune crossing the threshold of Seattle Prep High School, rather than descending some dark mine shaft in Silver Bow County, Montana or plowing the rocky plains of Stark County, North Dakota. His mother, after losing both her father and grandfather to consumption by age 14, left cherished schooling behind for full time work in support of the family’s exodus from hardscrabble Butte, Montana to beautiful Alki Point on Puget Sound. David learned early the values of thoughtful observation, innovation, common sense, and the determination to take hold of enriching opportunities. Like his mother, he excelled in every position taken for personal expansion and community contribution. David was a true “born artist” and forever viewed this world through his artist’s eye. His culturally Italian influenced childhood was rich with quality picture books, music, and art supplies. At two and a half, his drawing of the backyard chicken run amazed his mother and aunts. At four years, his free hand cut out of a camel was above preschool average. In grade five, his mother was called in by astounded nuns at St Patrick’s to view an exceptional mural of the three wise men that David had quietly drawn, over several days, across a classroom chalkboard. As a child, he once pointed up at an impressive building and said to his mother, “One day I’d like to build a place like that.” His mother responded, “One day you might like to design a building like that; maybe you’ll think about being an architect someday.” Growing up in the backwoods of Beacon Hill, David embarked on an exploration and enjoyment of nature that never ended. What began on bikes, at swimming holes, in row boats, and on horseback, extended to skiing, backpacking, ocean trips, mountain climbing, and sailing. A born and bred environmentalist, he exposed his children to wild country as much and as often as possible, instilling in each one a genuine love and respect for the natural world. During the Victory Garden era, David steadily hoed and planted beside his mother, becoming a prolific gardener. Years later he would surround the family home he designed and built in Wenatchee, with lovely trees and flowers, vegetables, fruits, berries, and nuts. Alternately working and resting in his yard, season upon season, he created a peaceful rhythm and refuge, a kind of living sanctuary. His kids especially loved sleeping across the soft bed of his deep, lush lawn on starry summer nights. David's academic history included three years at Seattle University before signing on for a two-year hitch with the United States Marines, where he just missed the Korean war and trained as an electrician technician. Returning to Seattle in the spring of 1955, he became reacquainted with a friends' little sister in the Seattle University cafeteria. Vivacious SU cheerleader and the reigning Miss Capitol Hill, Theresa Kerns, was sitting with her brother, Gerald, when David sat down for a visit. Theresa, in her fun and friendly manner, promptly ate a good portion of Dave’s lunch and then asked him for a lift to help her return a stack of overdue library books. They were married in June of 1956 and that fall David followed through on the distant childhood conversation had with his mother and enrolled in the University of Washington school of Architecture. Four years later, he graduated with his wife and three small daughters standing by in matching celebration dresses, made by his mother. Having been an only child, David longed for a large, bustling family. He brimmed with pure happiness at the homecoming of each new baby and never wavered from accepting the responsibility and inescapable stress of being at the helm of such a demanding brood. He was an orderly and exacting man, but he clearly loved his seven kids all the more for the colorful, at times even charming, noisy chaos they brought to his carefully orchestrated life. In 1969, David, a practicing architect of nine years, decided with Theresa to move across the Cascades to Wenatchee for a change of climate and pace. It was a good move for the family and David’s career, primarily concentrated on designing public facilities, flourished for another 27 years before his retirement from the firm he had founded, DOH Associates. Some of David’s many designs in central Washington include the Campus Master Plan and John Brown Library at Wenatchee Valley College, Eastmont High School, the Wenatchee Convention Center, and Grant County International Airport Terminal Facility. Following retirement from regular practice in 1996, he continued as part-time senior consultant to his former firm for several years. At that point, Dave had gotten his pilot’s license and enjoyed flying DOH Associates staff to their project site of the new airport terminal at Walla Walla Regional Airport. Once, at a family breakfast, David shared that a favorite professional design of his was the school in Stehekin, preserving the feel of the original one room schoolhouse. His initiation and involvement in the design of Wenatchee Riverfront Park is of special significance and pride for his family. David was on a wide variety of boards and frequently volunteered his professional services. He took an active part in many projects for St Joseph’s parish. In retirement, he helped coordinate social services and served as treasurer for St Vincent de Paul, packed groceries at the Wenatchee food bank, and delivered Meals on Wheels weekly. With a deeply gracious and compassionate heart, David gave generously to others, often in obscurity. David was a passionate reader and collected books for sixty years, creating a delightful family library. He encouraged appreciation of the humanities in his children and loved going to cultural events. He took Spanish classes in retirement and pursued his talent of drawing and watercolor, completing lovely childhood portraits of each of his seven children. His carpenter’s bench was a spirited wonder and his family watched him design, build, and fix anything he set his sights on. He was a man of humility, saying simply once, in a shower of praise, “I just think life is more interesting if you do things.” One of David’s great heroes, along with Mahatma Ghandi and Huck Finn, was Dr. Albert Schweitzer who said, “The purpose of human life is to serve, to show compassion and to help others.” David clearly strove to exemplify this quote and lived a life of deep faith and moral conviction. Our dear, and dearly loved, father and grandfather is deeply missed, and his memory will be treasured forever. Preceding David in death was his most beloved wife of 63 years, Theresa Marie, and his treasured cousins, Barbara Benedetto, and John Patrick Harris. He is survived by his seven children: Michelle (Gene) Loudon, Colleen Harris (Colin Foden), Kristine Harris, Victoria (Jim) Fleishman, R. Nicholas (Lesah) Harris, Jacqueline (Matt) Corulli, and Karen (Mark) Hayward. Grandchildren: Bethany (Michael) Koenen, Stacia Loudon, David (Lynsey) Loudon, Claire Sarff-Foden, Madelaine (Drew) Moreland, Nick “Jimmy” (Laura) Boese, Michael Boese, Marc (Rena) Boese, Mackie Fleishman (Sophia Burke), Luke Fleishman, Jake (Mistaya) Johnston, Jordan Harris (Jeremy Stevens), TJ Harris, Niko (Lauren) Corulli, Zachary Corulli, Anthony Hayward, Nicholas (Katie) Hayward, and Samuel Hayward. Great grandchildren: Fiona Koenen, Emery Jo Loudon, Baylor Loudon, Carson Boese, Bella Boese, Reese Boese, Miles Johnston, Bowen Johnston, Connor Stevens, Abby Stevens, Miles Corulli, and Remy Corulli. A funeral mass will be celebrated Friday, March 18th, at 11:00 am at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Wenatchee, with a reception immediately following. A private interment with family only will take place at Evergreen Cemetery Mausoleum later in the day.
David O. Harris, dear son of Orin and Eva (Fasso) Harris, beloved husband of the late Theresa Marie (Kerns) Harris, and adored father of six daughters and one son, passed away on the evening of March 7, 2022, at age 88. He was surrounded by... View Obituary & Service Information
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