Obituary for Eric Harrison
Eric Paul Harrison
KENNEBUNK – Eric Paul Harrison, 54, a resident of Kennebunk, passed away December 9, 2017 at York Hospital after courageously battling a lifelong illness. He was the recipient of a liver / kidney organ transplant in July, 2006, to cure him of Primary Hyperoxaluria Type 1, and lived each day in deep gratitude to his organ donor and his family for the gift of life.
He was born on July 25, 1963 in Portland, Maine, the beloved seventh of eight children of John Frank and Frances (McCarthy) Harrison. He grew up in Kennebunk and attended local schools before earning his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Maine.
He worked with his brother, Dave, on the start-up of Bailey’s Fruit and Produce and later Harrison Shrader Enterprises. His appreciation for art was accommodated while working at Hunter Editions, printing fine art for artists across the country. He left Hunter Editions to care for his Mom and Dad, ensuring they could remain in their family home until their deaths.
Eric was a modern day Renaissance man, with a compassionate heart, keen intellect and quick sense of humor, always quietly seeking ways to better the lives of others. He carried a St. Francis coin in his pocket, with the simple inscription, “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace,” living it daily. He was a firefighter, EMT and rescue diver with Washington Hose Company, Kennebunk Fire Department, cared for terminally ill people as a volunteer for EHope Foundation, keynoted numerous dinners for organ donor families for the New England Donor Bank and the Oxalosis & Hyperoxaluria Foundation, conducted organ donor drives, and was an early volunteer with Marine Animal Lifeline rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing countless marine mammals. In his last earthly act of giving, Eric donated his organs to his transplant team at Massachusetts General Hospital to further their understanding of organ transplant techniques and the effects of PH-1, hoping, in his words, “to make a difference in the lives of future patients.”
Eric had an unlimited curiosity about the world. He was an avid reader, and during his lifetime a cross-country runner and Nordic skier, a certified rescue scuba diver, and member of the New England Astronomical Society. He was known for his amazing photographs of the planets and stars. In 2008, Eric competed in the International Transplant Olympic Games in Finland, Pittsburgh and Canada, earning medals in curling and the high jump in track and field. Prior to his illness, he was invited to Japan as part of a specialty dive team to rescue a seal that had become entrapped in an industrial sluiceway. He was honored by his transplant team when asked to review their case study about him, later published in a leading peer reviewed transplantation journal.
He is survived by his siblings: Frances Harrison of Kennebunk; James and Laura Harrison of Kennebunk; Anne Harrison Jordan and Jeffrey of South Portland; Dave and Lisa Harrison of Kennebunk, Mary Alice Harrison and Thomas Allard of Kennebunk and Beth and John Kissinger of Hopkinton, New Hampshire. A close family, he was especially proud of his nieces and nephews: Leigh Harrison Racz and Joel; Elizabeth Harrison Peplaw; Will Harrison; Rob Jordan; John and Ciara Harrison; Linda Harrison; Emily Harrison; Katherine Kissinger; Katie Jordan; Meghan Kissinger; Christy Harrison Allard; and Lily Kissinger. He was looking forward to two family summer weddings, when Kimmy Loeffel (Rob) and Jonathan Laurendeau (Elizabeth) will officially join the clan, although they both already had their family place in his heart. Eric is also survived by a great-niece, Penelope Racz, numerous cousins, and countless friends in the Kennebunks and around the world.
Eric was pre-deceased by his eldest brother, Steve, in 2003; his father, John Frank in 2004, and his mother, Frances in 2005.
Visiting hours will be held Thursday, December 28th from 5-8pm at Bibber Memorial Chapel, Summer Street, Kennebunk. A celebration and thanksgiving for his life will follow on Friday, December 29th at 1pm at the South Congregational Church, 2 North Street, Kennebunkport, with the Revs. Charles Whiston and Laura Guptill Knittweiss officiating. Interment will follow in the spring in Hope Cemetery, Kennebunk.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish may donate in Eric's memory to either: The Washington Hose Company, 159 Port Road, Kennebunk, Maine 04043 or The Oxalosis & Hyperoxaluria Foundation, 201 E. 19th Street, Unit 12E, NY, NY 10003. , http://ohf.org