PHILLIP D. HARR
April 22, 1923 ˜ September 4, 2020
Phillip Duane Harr passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 4, 2020 surrounded by his immediate family. He was 97. Phil, the oldest of five siblings, grew up in the small town of Munith, MI, but he made the world his home.
He was an officer and a gentleman (and an Army Muleskinner) during World War II. Phil was stationed in the Philippines, and after the war ended, one of his favorite stories from that time was how he managed to “trade” enough favors for concrete and construction equipment to build a swimming pool for his men.
After his service, he returned home to Michigan to attend the University of Michigan. He moved to Europe in 1954 where he was an elementary school principal for the U.S. Department of Defense schools in France, Italy and Germany.
In 1956, he met Ursula Laurinat in Bamberg, Germany and they were married three years later. A year after their marriage, their only child, Katrina, was born.
After a brief stint in Verona, Italy, the family moved to Schweinfurt, Germany in 1960 and then to Hanau, Germany in 1967.
Over the years the family would often spend summer vacations in Michigan where they would visit family and Phil would take classes at the University of Michigan.
Phil retired from the federal government in 1985 and Phil and Ursula remained in Germany until they moved to Vancouver, WA in 1996. There they enjoyed many “happy hours” and celebrations with new friends and neighbors, old friends from overseas and frequent visits by family. Two years ago, Phil moved to Camarillo, CA to be close to his immediate family.
Phil loved his family, Germany, traveling, music of the 30s and 40s, skiing in the Alps, and good food eaten with good company. He exercised his entire life, for decades taking hikes in the German forests. Phil highly valued education and, like most Harrs, had a great sense of humor and a positive outlook. He was a very social person. He and Ursula hosted many Christmas parties for his teachers and staff, where he would act as bartender. In fact, Phil kept in contact with many of his former teachers until his death. As a lifelong student of history and politics, he was looking forward to casting his vote as a Democrat this November. He enjoyed writing political opinion letters, many of which were published in the Columbian newspaper in recent years. Phil was always interested in where people were from and made conversation with everyone he met, even total strangers.
As a University of Michigan alumnus, he loved all things U of M, especially Michigan football, and often wore his University of Michigan hat to solicit conversation.
Phil is survived by his daughter, Katrina; son-in-law, Richard Lyon; his three grandsons, Derek, Dylan and Connor Lyon; and good family friend, Mark Watson. He is also survived by his sisters, Jane James and Ann (Horace) Ward; sister-in-law, Dorothy Harr, as well as several nieces and nephews and extended family.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Ursula; parents, Lynn and Elizabeth Harr; brother, Robert Harr; and sister, Beverly Charter.
He will be so greatly missed by his family and the people whose lives he touched and whom he made laugh.
A Catholic service for Phil will be held in Vancouver in the spring of 2021, with a reception to follow at Ursula and Phil’s house and garden. Phil will be laid to rest with Ursula at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, OR. Please share a memory @ www.columbian.com/obits