Edward Elliott Harris gave up the earthy fight and went to be with his Lord on February 20th 2018, at Royal Columbian Retirement Inn in Kennewick, WA. The oldest of seven children, he was born May 10, 1930 at the old Booth Hospital on Main Street in Lewiston, ID to Roy O. Harris Sr. and Louise L. (Bevard) Harris.
Edward’s family moved to Juliaetta, ID then Craigmont, ID before settling in Moscow, ID where Ed attended school and developed his love of farming. He worked with several farmers in the area starting at age 11 to help support the large family. He often spoke of his time working for Charlie and Emma Paul, Garth Wilson, Lawrence Paul and others. Several years ago, when Janna was home for a vacation visit, Grace Paul was talking to her at church. Grace shared that Edward had always been such a hard worker and never missed a day. She said, “here was this 14-year-old boy, out working some of the grown men”. That made sense as Ed used to tell his children; “when you work for a man, you WORK for him”
On June 1, 1951 Edward married Laneva Mary Eldridge at the old Church of the Nazarene on the corner of Third and Almon Streets in Moscow, Idaho. They settled in a tiny house just outside the booming metropolis of Joel, ID, where Ed continued to work for Garth Wilson and Laneva practiced her homemaking and gardening skills.
Ed joined the Army in 1952 where he served in the Korean conflict. After returning home in April 1955, he worked with his father-in-law at a slaughter house in St. John, WA. Ed and Laneva developed precious friendships around this community. Many of which lasted throughout their lifetimes. At this same time, SSgt Harris also transferred from regular Army to become an Army Reservist. One of our treasured family memories was how sometimes, when sitting at the table, after we finished eating, Dad would pretend to bark orders and make us march as we cleared the table. This always ended with the “recruits” collapsing in heaps of giggles as we tried to make the sounds and sing the cadences he went through.
Ed and Laneva moved to Spokane, WA in 1957 where he was an Assistant Manager at Safeway. Daughter; Janna Joeva was born here January 4, 1958. In the fall of 1958 Ed and Laneva returned to the Moscow area where Ed resumed farming with Garth. Soon, thereafter, Ed told Laneva that he kept “dreaming about babies flying all around in my head”! Son Doyle Edward was born October 24, 1959.
In 1961 the young family moved to Pullman, WA where Ed and brother-in-law Max Proctor branched out Max’s Industrial Cleaning across the state line from Moscow. The business grew so much that by 1963 Max took over the Idaho part of the business and Ed took Washington changing the name to Ed’s Cleaning. The business continued to grow until the mid-1970s when he sold the business to two of his employees and took a position at Washington State University as a painter in the Housing Department. He used to laugh about how nice it was to get paid for his working “vacation” after running his own business for so many years.
Promotions to lead and then Maintenance Supervisor followed. In 1992 Dad retired to spend more time with Mom and do more gardening and traveling, especially as both children were now living in southern states. The new retiree also attempted to take up golfing, until Mom hit a wild back spin giving him two black eyes, breaking his glasses and knocking him off his feet! He decided that riding horses was safer so, along with Uncle Max, he enjoyed many trail rides with Gentleman on Horseback, Max’s sons, and others.
After retirement, Ed was also able to return to his first love of farming by running tractors, combines and driving trucks for several of the local farmers. After moving to Kennewick, he would get antsy during the times for spring work, harvest and fall work. He really missed “getting dirty” and commiserating with the men.
As a small child, and through adulthood, Ed was actively involved in the Moscow Church of the Nazarene. He was a 25-year Volunteer for the Pullman Fire Department and Emergency Rescue. He loved teaching their First Aide classes. He was also a long-term member of Lion’s Club, Elks and Gideon’s International. Ed and Laneva opened their home to many foster children over the years. They loved when one of those kids would come back to visit, all grown up and leading a better life. Ed was a Charter member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, DAV, and Pullman Senior Center.
Before Laneva’s death, they moved to Kennewick, WA so Janna could help with Laneva’s declining health. There; they began attending South Hills Church and a Tuesday morning breakfast club, better known to friends as the “Romeo (Retired Old Men Eating Out) Club”. Ed tried attending the Kennewick Senior Center after Laneva died, but he said too many overzealous widows scared him off!
“Mr. Ed” loved his God, his family, his country, farming and children. He was often heard to say; “dogs and little kids know who likes them” and to prove that he insisted on always carrying gum in his pocket and dog or horse treats in his pickup. Some of his greatest joy came from being a Sunday school teacher for the 2 & 3-year old children or playing Santa for the Pullman Volunteer Fire Department and Lion’s Club Christmas Sleighs.
Edward is survived by daughter; Janna (Randy) Clark, Pasco, WA, Son; Doyle Harris; Battletown, KY, Sister; Margaret “Peg” (Larry) Amarok, Seattle. Also, granddaughter; Jennifer (Ron) Walker; Moscow, ID, Grandchildren; Tiana Smith, Michael Smith and Randy Walker. Also, many cousins, nieces and nephews across the northwest.
“Mr. Ed’s” greatest gift was giving to others, and he chose to do it without hoopla or display. There are many families throughout the Palouse Region who have been fed when their cupboards were empty, who had their electric bills paid and never knew by whom or who received “$100 handshakes” when they didn’t know how they would be able to buy shoes for their kids. He was always watching for that brother who needed a helping hand.
With all this in mind; he has asked that anyone who may have fond memories of him might donate to Gideon’s International for Bibles, to the Wounded Warrior Project to help his fellow Veterans, or to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Spokane, WA.
Dad had emphatically requested that there be no funeral celebration. He said “I know where I’m going. I’ll see the Lord and your Mom. That’s party enough for me!” He has already been cremated. The family will have a small memorial and interment with Mom, at a later date.