Dean Harris

Donald Dean Harris, 82, of Parsons died at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 26, 2020, at his home. Death followed a brief period of failing health.

He was born Jan. 8, 1938, in rural McCune to John E. and Ruby (Amos) Harris. The family lived in rural McCune through his early years and moved to Erie during his late high school years. He graduated from Erie High School in 1955.

In November 1955 he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and continued for 20 years with duty stations in Topeka, Guam, Maine and finally at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he was with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology as a medical technician. Early in his Air Force career he had received training through Washburn University in Topeka for his medical technician work.

On Oct. 20, 1956, he and Elaine Ferguson, also an Erie native, were married in Erie. She and their three daughters were with Dean on his various assignments, and when he retired from the Air Force in 1975 they settled in Parsons.

Dean was employed as a medical technician at the Katy Hospital until its closure. Then he worked at the Parsons Clinic for 14 years until his retirement.

He had many interests and especially enjoyed a life of simplicity, often recalling the days of his early life on the farm. He loved being outdoors and spending time at his home. He developed a close bond with the Amish and often helped members of that community. He had a passion for gas engines and was active in the SEK Old Time Gas Engines organization. Dean was a craftsman and woodworker. He had made grandmother clocks for his three daughters and for many other family members. His most recent project was the restoration of a grandfather clock. Dean was active in the Proud Animal Lovers Shelter organization and spent many hours as a volunteer at the shelter for animals. He helped maintain the grounds at First Christian Church of Parsons, where he was a member. For many years he and Elaine were active members of the former Beantown Ramblers Camping Club.

Survivors are his wife, Elaine, of the home; three daughters, Linda Hughes (Terry) of Wichita, Deanna Basgall (Paul) and Debra Jordan (Dr. Kerry) both of Olathe; 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; four brothers, John Harris (Joan) of Chetopa, David Harris (Jeanette) and Charles Harris (Carol), both of Erie, and Jerry Harris (Marsha) of Victorville, California; and two sisters, Coleen Yockey (Ronnie) of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Patsy Richey (Steve) of Erie. His parents preceded him in death.

The service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at First Christian Church in Parsons, with the Rev. Jennifer Dawson officiating. Burial will follow in East Hill Cemetery at Erie, with military honors provided by the Erie American Legion. The family will receive friends from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday at Carson-Wall Funeral Home.

Memorials are suggested to First Christian Church or to PALS and may be left at or sent to the funeral home, P.O. Box 942, Parsons, KS 67357.

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