Joseph Harris

The eldest of four rambunctious boys, Joseph Edward Harris was born Nov. 4, 1940, in Washington, D.C., to Evelyn Virginia and George Joseph Harris.
A devoted husband, big brother, father of four sons, radar navigator/bombardier, rockhound and community volunteer, Joe brightened the lives of many with his joyful, giving, and compassionate spirit. He loved his wife. He loved his sons. He loved all his furry friends but none like Ophie!
With navigation instruments tucked away, Joe has completed his life missions, impacting the lives of many and for generations to come. The B-52 will forever roar and boom!
After graduating from Frederick High School in Frederick, Md., in 1958, Joe studied at Virginia Polytechnic University. 
Joe signed on with the Air Force and trained in San Antonio, Texas, before packing his belongings into a VW Beetle and driving Hwy. 40 to Sacramento, Calif., for additional training. There, Joe met his wife of 59 years, Yvonne Marie Harris.
Yvonne might say Joe’s main goals in life were to sit in front of a plate stacked high with crab legs and to find the purest Fairburn agate, but whatever the case, as his wingwoman, Yvonne accompanied Joe on a cornucopia of adventures.
Joe was an accomplished radar navigator/bombardier and was called upon to train his colleagues early in his career. In the Vietnam War and Southeast Asia Conflict, Joe flew over 300 missions and earned several awards for expert navigation, including the Distinguished Flying Cross. Joe continued to fly for the duration of the Cold War, often flying on global surveillance missions. His flying duties were often stressful, so Joe made the most of his time on the ground with his family.
In 1974, he caught a record-setting largemouth bass in South Dakota. Later, he shot trophy antelope and mule deer. Yvonne and the boys were willing companions on fishing, crawfish trapping, rock hunting, deer and antelope hunting, and camping trips that often took them to remote areas across the country.
As an avid rockhound, outdoorsman and hunter, Joe fell in love with the wild prairies and fabled Black Hills of South Dakota. Joe and Yvonne lived in Rapid City and Hill City, S.D., for over 45 years.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1989, Joe built a log home for his family to live and retire in. They so fell in love with log homes that they founded Twin Springs Log Homes and began a second career as builders. Joe was the district governor for the Lions Clubs in his district while in South Dakota.
In 2010 after hanging up the toolbelt, Joe and Yvonne moved to Grantsville, Md., to join old family and friends in a final retirement. There they were active members of the Catholic church and made lifelong friends in the Amish community.
As Joe’s health deteriorated, his son Patrick volunteered his help to care for both him and his mother.  
On Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022, our Lord and Savior flew home the gentle yet demanding spirit of Lt. Col. Joseph Edward Harris. He was 81.
Joe was preceded in death by his brother, David Leslie Harris of Frederick; aunt, Lois Jackson of Frostburg, Md.; uncle Allen and aunt Mary Lou Robertson of Frederick; father, George Joseph Harris and mother, Evelyn Virgina Harris, both of Grand Junction, Colo; and uncles, George Eisentrout of Olympia, Wash., and Leslie (Peck) Eisentrout of Hagerstown, Md. 
Joe is survived by his enchanting and loving wife, Yvonne of San Pedro, Calif.; sons, Joseph Jr. and Patrick, both of Madison, Wis., Timothy (Angela) of Maple Lake, Minn., and  Christopher of San Pedro; three grandchildren; and brothers, Paul of West Linn, Ore., and William of Easton, Md.
In honor of Joe, donations can be made to the American Stroke Association or the Alzheimer’s Association.
A funeral mass will be held May 18 at 10:30 a.m. at Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church in San Pedro. All are welcome to attend.
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