HARRISON, Donald Eric, MAJ (Ret’d), RCOC
Peacefully in his sleep and surrounded by love, Eric passed away on April 22, 2015, at the age of 71. Eric is survived by his mother Betty, sister Dianne Helm, wife Jessie, daughter Rene (Kirsty Grosart), sons Derek and Tobin (Kathy), and grandchildren, Sarah and Brian. Eric was born in Sarnia, and grew up in Plainfield, ON. A snippet of the tales he shared with us about growing up include: summers spent at the Sandbanks with his family; summer farm work as a young teen pitching peas, then biking home for miles in the dark.
At age 16, Eric left for Montreal to join the Canadian Armed Forces in the soldier apprentice two year training plan. Here he received recognition for his leadership and boxing skills. This was the start of a long and distinguished career that saw us posted from CFB Wainwright, AB, Shilo and Winnipeg, to McGivney, NS, and overseas for four wonderful years in Germany. Eric retired in Dundern, SK, with the rank of Major, and remained there to work as a civilian employee to finish his military career.
In all, Eric proudly served his country for 49 years, serving with the Ordnance Corps and RCEME. Eric was a big fan of many sports and enjoyed curling, golfing, hockey and slow-pitch. A crafty card player, he excelled in the pegging of cribbage, and keeping his bridge opponents (and partners!) on their toes. Not one to sit still for long, Eric took up wood working in Dundern, and grandkid’s rooms were soon filled with beautiful pine furniture, followed by kitchen islands and wine racks, stocked for us with his great homemade wines.
For years he helped out as head snow plower and whipper-snipper for the family business. We are so proud of Dad’s accomplishments and good friends he met along the way, but his love for family is our most treasured memory and we miss him dearly. From countless hours in rinks with kids and grandkids, to annual camping trips to Twin Shores, PEI, to weeks of travelling across Canada with Mom, three screaming kids, and a dog and cat filling the 77 T-bird, Dad remained cool throughout with the only occasional “If I have to stop this car!”.
His “renowned sense of humour”, as one former colleague referred to at his retirement, could liven up meetings, reunions, and living rooms. If help was needed, he was always there for us. That love and character are his greatest gifts to us, and we will always remember him when we share a laugh. A special thank-you to the wonderful staff and volunteers at the Grace Hospice who comforted and took exceptional care of Dad. He was happy to report the Jet’s score to all who visited his room for updates. To honour Eric’s wishes, cremation has taken place and no formal service will be held. A full life like Eric’s is so hard to summarize in a few words, so we will welcome and treasure any stories of your time spent with him over the years.