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William H. "Bill" HarrisDecember 1, 1931 ~ June 20, 2015 (age 83)
William H. Harris
December 1, 1931 - June 20, 2015
William "Bill" Harold Harris, 83, Michigan City, Indiana, passed away Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 1:43 am in Hospice Franciscan Communities, Michigan City, IN.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 am, Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Buffalo & 10th Streets, Michigan City, Indiana with Rev. Walter Rakoczy officiating. Burial will follow in St. Stanislaus Cemetery with full military services conducted by the John Franklin Miller American Legion Post 37. Visitation will be from 3:00 pm -7:00 pm, Tuesday and from 8:30 am - 9:30 am Wednesday at the Ott/Haverstock Funeral Chapel, 418 Washington St., Michigan City, IN. A prayer service will conducted at 5:30 pm Tuesday in the funeral chapel.
He was born December 1, 1931 in Michigan City, Indiana to the late Willard M. and E. Irene (McAlpine) Harris. He was married on June 18, 1955 Patricia Ann Gruse in St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church who survives.
Also surviving are a son, Keith (Donna) Harris of Michigan City, IN; daughters, Susan (Tim) Vail of Michigan City, IN, Anita (H. Bret) Young of Madison, AL and Kathleen Harris of South Bend, IN; grandsons, Zachary Vail of Lawrenceville, IL and Ethan Vail of Michigan City, IN; granddaughters, Rebecca (Rob) Ulrich of LaPorte, IN, Regina Koloj of Kingsford Heights, IN and Rachelle (Evan Smith) Liete of Bradenton, FL; great-grandchildren, Mathew, Evan, Emma, Nathaniel, Robert, Kara, Ted and Kaylee; sister, Barbara (Jack) Mickey of Estes Park, CO; brother-in-laws, Robert Decker of Hartford, CT and Steve Banic, Jr. of Bourbon, IN; sister-in-law, Doris Harris of Michigan City, IN; and several nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews.
He was also preceded in death by his son, John Harris; brother, Verne Harris; and sisters, Marjorie Hefner, Margaret Decker, Jane Banic and Dorothy Harris.
Bill is a 1950 graduate of Isaac C. Elston High School and obtained an Associate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. He was manger of Engineering Standards, Pullman Standard Car Mfg. Co.; Project Engineer and Chief Engineer for New Cars, Evans Railcar; Project Engineer, Thrall Car Mfg. He obtained patents for technology in freight car design and was a consulting engineer for rail cars.
He was a proud Army veteran of the Korean War serving as a Cpl. in the Military Police for 45th and 3rd Infantry Divisions. He was awarded the Korean Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and LaPorte Co. Patriotic Service Medal.
Bill was a long time French Horn Player beginning in the 5th grade with Elston Jr. High band and then Elston Sr. High School band and orchestra. After his Korean War service he played with the Michigan City Symphony, LaPorte Symphony Orchestra as a charter member for 30 years, Michigan City Municipal band for more than 50 years and was past president and uniform manager of the band.
He was a member of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church and had been Eucharistic Minister for 30 years, an usher and member of the Parish Finance Committee. He was also a member and past president of Michigan City Kiwanis; life member of Michigan City Historical Society; member with wife on the Old Lighthouse Museum Restoration Committee and a docent at the museum; member of Korean War Veterans and John Franklin Miller American Legion Post 37; V.F.W. 2536 life member; president OP33 3rd Infantry Division; member of Society of Indiana Pioneers, Indiana Historical Society and LaPorte County, IN Genealogical Society.
"Pa" as his grandchildren and great-grandchildren called him, enjoyed traveling and visiting ancestral homes and villages in the U.S., Canada, England and Scotland as well as his wife's in Poland and Germany. He was interested in history, especially military and family history and was an avid Cubs and Purdue Football fan.
Contributions may be made to St. Mary's Catholic Church, 411 W. 11th St., Michigan City, IN, Michigan City Municipal Band, 6 on the lake, Michigan City, IN 46360 or Hospice Franciscan Communities, 1225 E. Coolspring Ave., Michigan City, IN 46360.