Obituaries & Tributes

Patrick John Harris

date of birth February 9 1954

date of death April 18 2020

Patrick was born on February 9, 1954 in Seattle, Washington to Claude and Katherine Harris. He passed away on April 18, 2020 at the age of 66.

Patrick had a life-long love of books and history. After obtaining an Undergraduate and Masters Degree in History at Portland State University, Patrick pursued his love for history serving first as the Executive Director of the Museum of the Oregon Territory and subsequently as Executive Director and Curator at the Old Aurora Colony: Historical Museum in Aurora, Oregon where he remained until his death. Patrick is survived by his brother, Terry Harris and his sister-in-law Diane Harris; his sister, Kaye Harris Whitmer and his brother-in-law, Richard Whitmer; his cousins Judi Thompson and Diane Shalander; nephew Nathan Harris and niece Annie Harris and his great nephew Jonah Harris and great niece June Harris; his nephew Michael Dion and niece Nicole Dion and his great nephew Kyle Dion and great niece Natalie Dion and his nieces Shannon Harris, Carole Smith and his great niece Araina Harris.


Patrick was loved by his family and friends and was a beloved member of the Aurora Community. A private internment will be held at the Aurora Community Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date following the resolution of the Covid 19 outbreak. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to the Old Aurora Colony Historical Museum.


4 tribute candles have been lit

Candle lit by Staff at Canby-Molalla Funeral Chapel Our sincere condolences.

Candle lit by Blythe Patrick, you have been a dear friend to my family since before I was born. I've admired your passion for history and the sense of humor you brought to every day. You are greatly missed. Enjoy your talks with the Keils!

Candle lit by Marcia & Tim Clark-McKitrick You will always be a big part of our history. And your history will live for a long, long time, old friend. Enjoy your retirement in the Light.

Candle lit by Dr. Thom M. Armstrong I am so saddened to learn of the recent passing of fellow historian, colleague, and friend, Patrick Harris. Patrick and i were both graduate students in history at Portland State University in the late 1970s/early 1980s. When I passed my M.A thesis defense in 1981, Patrick treated me to a couple pitchers of beer at the Cheerful Tortoise.next to PSU. Soon after that, I left Oregon with a new wife and a two-month-old son for California in order to pursue my Ph.D. in history. Over the course of many years, we made trips to Oregon to see family, especially at holidays. At a point, I was hired as dean of behavioral and social sciences at Mt. Hood Community College, and it enabled my two sons to be close to both of their grandparents for four years, and during this time, we also visited Patrick at Aurora Colony. Even today, my wife and i have the candles that our boys made years ago at Aurora on our china hutch. While we did not speak with each other often, I cherish the photo that Patrick had taken of my eldest son and me when we ran into each other at Pioneer Square in Downtown Portland. Being confined at home because of the coronavirus crisis, I have been prompted to write hand-written letters to people who have been significant in the past, and one of those recently was to Patrick. Today, in a gracious call from Caroline Queer, the business manager at Aurora Colony, informed me that, sadly, Patrick had passed away. What a great loss to all of us who knew him. I shall never forget his great smile and sense of humor. I had hoped to see him the next time I was in Oregon while checking on my elderly father in Gresham. To the family, friends, and acquaintances of Patrick Harris, I join with you in mourning him, and rejoice with you in a life well lived. Patrick, I will see you on the other side. Thom

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