In Memoriam: William Mercer Harris IV (April 16, 1925 – Sept. 15, 2021)

November 2021 Posted in Uncategorized

William Mercer Harris IV, of Keizer, Oregon, died from pneumonia complications on Sept. 15 at 8:40 p.m. at his nephew’s home in Silverton, Oregon.

William was born in Georgeton, D.C., April 16, 1925 to Olive Ruth Martin Harris (1890-1964) and William Oscar Harris (1896-1991). 

He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps at 17, receiving his Silver Pilot Wings in 1944 at Freemen Field, Seymour, Indiana. He received a bachelor’s degrees in horticulture and chemistry from the University of Maryland with a minor in animal husbandry, a math degree from Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and an engineering degree from the University of Wyoming in 1963.

William was recalled in 1950 to join the United States Air Force, during the Korean War and served in the Viet Nam War as Commander of the Jolly Green Giants Helicopter Rescue Squadron operating out of Da Nang Air Base, 1971-72. He retired from USAF in 1980.

William was an active member of churches, including First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and McIlwain Presbyterian Church in Pensacola, Florida. He loved to play golf, music and to dance. He was an expert marksman, a good horseman. He spent as much time with his family as he could. He loved nature and instilled a love of it in his children.

William is predeceased by his wife, Mary Ida Ferry Harris (1926-2016). They were married on Nov. 17, 1944. After his wife’s death, Bill moved to Eagleton, then moved to an independent living facility in Mount Angel, Oregon then to Keizer, Oregon in June of 2021.

His immediate surviving family includes his children, Mary Kathryn Harris Dixon, David Mercer Harris, and Judith Anne Harris Hiller as well as 15 grandchildren and more than 45 great grandchildren.

An intimate military honors service was held on Oct. 4 at Willamette National Cemetery, with family and a few friends in attendance. 

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