Obituary: Brian Keith Harris (March 18, 1947 – Dec. 12, 2013)

By Submitted December 23, 2013 02:08 pm

Brian Keith Harris
Brian Keith Harris
Brian Keith Harris, aged 66 years, oldest of five Harris children, father of two and retired pilot, died unexpectedly at Angeles City, Philippines, December 12, 2013. Brian was born March 18, 1947, in Oakland, Alameda County, California, to Walter Keith and Ardis Smith Harris. He attended Crescent Elk and Redwood Elementary Schools, Del Norte High School (Class of ’65) and graduated from Humboldt State College with a Bachelor’s degree in counseling. 

During college summers he worked for the U.S. Forest Service at the fire lookout on Red Mountain east of Klamath and as a cook for fire crews and later as a National Park Service ranger at the Grand Canyon. After graduating from college he joined the Air Force officer candidate school, completed his basic training at Camp White, White City, Oregon, and graduated from Air Force flight school in Columbus, Mississippi. He served as pilot and engineer on the three-man flight crews for C130 cargo planes, and was part of the final Saigon airlifts from Viet Nam in April 1975. He married Josefina Ababa in Angeles, Philippines, March 26, 1976, and his children were born in 1978 and 1982. After the Air Force, he served in the Air National Guard from 1988 to 1998, and was stationed in Kuwait in 1991 during Desert Storm. From August 1998 to November 2011 he worked for FedEx Express as a pilot flying between East Asian airport hubs. He resided in the Philippines for most of the last 15 years.

Brian is survived by his children, son Casey (spouse Carissa and their children Aidan, Allysa, Kendall and Skylar near Savannah, Ga.); and daughter Lisa (Andy in Ventura, Calif., her daughter Katrina, and their children, Sabrina and Andres III). Also survived by sisters Joan (Michael Watanabe of Eureka), Margaret (Gene Morris, Eureka), Lynn (Ken Kennedy, Tonasket, Wash.) and brother Robert (Jeanne) of Eureka, Calif. He is further survived by numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, many friends (including BJ, one of his best friends), and numerous fishing buddies. 

Brian will be remembered by many as an avid fisherman who was never far from a good fishing hole and drift boat…especially enjoying steelhead fishing in the Smith River and fishing trips to Alaska with his sisters and their families. Some will remember his high school basketball days and his marathon runs (Rose City, Ore., and the Boston Marathon). Many will remember Brian’s irreverent sense of humor; never one to let political correctness get in his way, he laughed at life and didn’t take anything, especially politicians, very seriously. He loved coming home to Northern California to share meals and laughter with his family...especially enjoying their crab feasts. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the ASPCA. No memorial service is planned.