Harris, John Richard

Harris, John Richard

June 21st, 2017

Peacefully, on Wednesday, June 21st, 2017, at Parkwood Institute, John Richard Harris in his 98th year. John was born and raised in Toronto. He joined the RCAF in 1941, serving as a navigator on a Halifax Bomber. The sole survivor of his aircrew, he spent two years as a prisoner of war in Germany, taking part in The Great Escape. A graduate of University of Toronto, and Carleton, John taught High School in Ottawa for 18 years, before moving to London in 1967 where he joined the administration at the newly opened Fanshawe College. In his retirement, he wrote a wartime memoir entitled "Serving and Surviving". On many Remembrance Days, and other occasions, he generously shared his wartime experiences with the public. After the war, he married his high school sweetheart Violet Kelly (predeceased). He will be greatly missed by his daughters, Anne and Catherine, and his grandchildren Kimberly, Suzanne, John, and Stephen. Cremation has taken place. A private celebration of his life will be held in August. Those wishing to make donations in memory of John are asked to consider the Canadian Red Cross. We wish to express our gratitude to the staff at Parkwood who provided him with wonderful care during the last year of his life. 

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Book of Condolences

Dot&Dick LowAnne&Catherine We are sorry to learn of the passing of your father.I kept in touch with him as best as I could(wish it had been more frequent)He was a hero in my eyes. Our heartfelt condolences to you and your families! Dot&Dick Low
Dot&Dick LowAnne&Catherine We are sorry to learn of the passing of your father.I kept in touch with him as best as I could(wish it had been more frequent)He was a hero in my eyes. Our heartfelt condolences to you and your families! Dot&Dick Low
Harry GillardI remember John R Harris as Jack. I haven't seen him in about 80 years. I remember his parents, his sister, the house they had on a short street opposite a large public school near Coxwell and Danforth in Toronto's east end, His Mother and my Mother went to Trinity College Dublin and both became teachers in Ireland. My Mother came to Canada in 1913, his at the end of WW1 after marrying into the large Harris family. I will have my 90th birthday Sept 9, 2017. May he rest in peace after a long and interesting life. Harry Gillard, Etobicoke, Ontario
Horgan-Bell CarolinePlease accept my deepest sympathy on the passing of your dear father. He was a gentleman , kind and always so pleasant. He shared with me some of his memories from WWII and I have a copy of his book. My dad was also in that war and so we often discussed this in our brief time together. His devotion to your mother was evident every time we met. With sincere sorrow on his passing, most sincerely, Caroline Horgan-Bell
Wendy SimOur parents remained good friends over the years. It is always difficult to lose the ones we love deeply. Our Mom, Diane, will miss your Dad, as they shared many laughs and memories of times with your Mom, Vi, and our Dad, Ron. Now your parents are reunited. May your memories always keep your Dad close in your heart. He was a gem and admired by all. He will be missed. With sincere sympathy, Wendy (Jones) & John Sim
Bill and Peggy RivardWe were very sorry to hear about John's passing and extend our sympathy to all members of his family. We were fortunate to meet John at Sunningdale G & CC and enjoyed some games with him there and also some good visits on the driving range. We were also privileged to accompany him to a meeting of the Glencoe Historical Society at which he spoke about his wartime experiences. We are very proud to have an autographed copy of his most interesting book, Serving and Surviving. He truly was an amazing man. Sincerely, Bill and Peggy
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