Donald De Harrison
November 7, 1931 – October 18, 2018.
The path of our lives changed to an unfamiliar direction on October 18, 2018 when our father shed his mortal shackles and stepped into the arms of the Savior. He endured enough pain in this lifetime to earn eternal camaraderie among the most valiant.
Dad is the middle child of Alando De and Mayme Rae Gordon Harrison. He was born November 7, 1931 at his grandma’s house on Hayes Street in Emmett, Idaho and grew up with siblings Jeannetta, Bobby, Basil and Charlene. Growing up during the Depression was not an easy life and Dad talked of trading farm eggs for groceries at the Emmett Safeway, of sleeping with his brother in their bed on the screened-in porch during the incessant heat and the bitter cold, and of walking, bicycling or riding horseback the four miles to school. He talked of the family riding in the team-driven wagon across the valley to spend the day with their extended family, and he recalled when they first got indoor plumbing and his grandpa refused to use the indoor facilities—it just wasn’t something to be done in the house. He remembered the first trans-Atlantic flight and how everyone wondered if the plane would get off the ground because it was so full of fuel. He smiled and said it cost nine cents to watch a movie at the Emmett theater. The first time he talked on a cell phone was an event because he yelled loud enough for anyone in the next county to hear—he wasn’t quite sure how cell phones worked.
Dad graduated from Emmett High School in 1949 and served in the Army from 1950 – 1953 during the Korean Conflict. When he returned home he met our mother, Donna Beth Heap, and they were married on June 4, 1954. They brought nine lively souls into the world and nothing else in the world has ever been more important to Dad than his family. Dad worked as a farmer, milk man, mechanic, truck driver and anything else he could do to provide for us. He taught us the value of hard work and the importance of integrity. He taught us all to play sports (but some learned better than others), how to laugh during hard times, and how to help others feel their value was greater than rubies.
Dad drew the cancer straw, and his fighting spirit carried him beyond the expectations of every medical professional he encountered. One doctor said that Dad endured a level of pain that would drop any other man to his knees, and Dad endured it without the aid of a plethora of medication. His fighting spirit was staunch and was admired by all. When he first entered the VA’s Community Living Center as a hospice patient, he was given four days to live. He graduated from that hospice center twice and spent a total of almost 15 months there. The staff at the Willow Hospice of Boise VA’s CLC has been tender, compassionate, caring and understanding through Dad’s battle and we will never forget their efforts. We also thank Dreamcatchers of Idaho for granting Dad’s wish for a helicopter ride and for Silverhawk Aviation of Caldwell, Idaho for facilitating that wish. He described the beginning of his helicopter ride as just floating up and floating away, like nothing he’d ever felt before. We like to think that he got to experience that same feeling just a few days ago…
Preceding him in death were his parents, his sister Jeannetta, his brother Bobby, and many cherished extended family members. Dad is survived by the love of his life, Donna Harrison of Emmett, and also by his brother Basil (Sally) Harrison of Caldwell, Idaho and sister Charlene (Jim) Stafford of Emmett, Idaho. He leaves behind his children Michael (Kathy Vaughan) of Garden Valley, Idaho; Cheryl Jenkins of Meridian, Idaho; Cozette Helmick (Wally) of Sweet, Idaho; Vonni Domme of Meridian, Idaho; Noreen (Jason) Buchanan of Meridian, Idaho; Renae (Kemo) Scott of Aurora, Colorado; Chuck (Teona) Harrison of Emmett, Idaho; Rachel (Rick) Tooley of Kuna, Idaho; and Stewart (Shadae) of Manama, Bahrain. His legacy is continued by 26 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren.
A viewing will be held Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Potter Funeral Chapel in Emmett, with a Celebration of Life immediately following at Cold Mountain Creek Restaurant in Emmett.