Robert Harris | 1925-2020

Contributed photo


Robert Wilson Harris, age 95, passed away on Monday, October 19, 2020, Life Care Center of Skagit Valley. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, on July 3, 1925, to Ethel and Arthur Harris. Bob was married to Megan (Doris) until she passed away on October 9, 2016. He is survived by two sons, Daniel and David, and two grandchildren, Iain and Michael.

He was, above all, a very creative person. As an architect, he designed and managed the construction of multiple private homes in a style that was all his own, as well as a few commercial buildings, including the main building of the Aspen Institute in Crestone, Colorado. As a husband and father, Bob sought creative ways to keep the family spark glowing. When two of his sons began to yield to peer pressure and make many poor choices, Bob uprooted us all and moved us to a small island in Greece for a year. Some years later he and Megan purchased a converted wooden fishing boat built in 1902, sailed it from England to the south coast of Spain. He then rebuilt it from the keel up and sailed their floating home around the Mediterranean. Later they would wander around Europe, Spain, Turkey and Morocco in a well appointed camper van, seeking adventures off the beaten path. He wrote a book for the timid traveler called “Gypsying After 40,” which gave tips on creative ways to travel, completely based on their experiences as land and sea gypsies.

Ultimately, in his late sixties, they landed on Orcas Island, and Bon designed and built his house with the help of only a few others. He could be seen any day high up on a ladder hammering, painting or adjusting something so it met with his aesthetic sense. His “can do” attitude was infectious and he passed it on to his family. The word “can’t” wasn’t in his vocabulary.

He had a sense of humor that displayed itself in plays-on-words or puns for those who could stand them. Up until his death, he was loved and appreciated by the staff of Life Care Center of Skagit Valley. He amused them daily by his pirate “Aaaaarrrgg!” or speaking Spanish when the mood suited him.

Bob had an incredibly positive attitude about everything and everybody and saw only the best in people. When confronted about his being a Pollyanna, he would shrug and ask, “Why not?” One time in Morocco when he was ripped off by a black market money changer, his response was to tear one of the few dollar bills in half, hand it to his son and say, “Nothing comes free. This half dollar will be a good reminder of this experience.” He saw the situation as a learning experience!

As the chapter of Bob Harris comes to a close, he leaves the world a better place with the people he has loved, the laughs he has caused, the creativity he has inspired, the people he has encouraged to be their best selves and sons and grandkids who carry on his legacies. Bob, this is not goodbye, but see ya later! We love you.

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