Richard Harris

Obituary of Richard Harris

Richard "Whitey" Harris (age 74) entered into rest peacefully, at home, with his wife Susan at his side, in September of 2022 in Mount Vernon, WA. He was born in Bellingham, WA in January 1948 to Howard and Janet (Lindley) Palmer. Whitey attended Bellingham High, graduating in 1967 and later continued his education at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon with a certificate of completion in auto body. Following high school, Whitey enlisted in the Army and served his country from 1967 until 1970 reaching the rank of Specialist Fourth Class. He proudly served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War, the second tour of which he volunteered for. He was stationed in the Chu Lai area. It was here that he got his nickname. The Vietnamese dubbed him "Mighty Whitey" because of his strength and blondness and the name stuck for life. Because of his kindness and generosity to the local villagers, they awarded him the Key To The City! During his service to the country, Whitey was awarded the Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM), National Defense Service Medal (NDSM), Vietnam Service Medal (VSM), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (VCM), and expert rifle awards in both M-14 and M-16 rifles.


Shortly after his military service, Whitey met Susie while they were both working in a concession stand in a carnival and eventually married in 1972 in Bellingham and settled in Burlington. Whitey then worked for the State of Washington Schools for 30 years, retiring in 2011 as a building and equipment maintenance specialist and later as a custodian.


Whitey and Susan recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, having spent those 50 years entirely in Skagit County, building their family home in Burlington and later moving to Mount Vernon. As a family man, Whitey enjoyed an active family life with his wife and 3 children and was very involved with his children's numerous activities. He volunteered with Cub Scouts, The NW Rockies Junior Rock and Gem Club, attended their bowling leagues and sporting events, and was invited to play Santa Claus at school and scouting events for which he was a natural! Family backyard BBQs with their children and wonderful grandchildren were a special treat. Throughout his life, Whitey enjoyed hunting, fishing, and camping which he was introduced to by his beloved grandparents, Marion and Rex Odell. Later in life, he took an interest in exploring new casinos and playing penny slot machines which he greatly enjoyed up to the day before his death.


Whitey was a great guy, a really good cook, and the best all-around fix-it man we have ever known. If he couldn't fix it, it probably couldn't be fixed! He was extremely reliable, dependable, and helpful … all you had to do was ask. We all love you and will miss you greatly!


He is survived by his wife, Susan of Mount Vernon, WA; sons, Brian (Elizabeth) Harris of Snohomish County, WA, Daniel (Cristina) Harris of Anacortes, WA; daughter, Teresa Hope Harris of Mount Vernon, WA.; sisters, Margaret Smith of Mount Vernon and Nancy Dixon of Bellingham, WA. and seven grandchildren. Whitey is preceded in death by his parents, his beloved grandparents, Marion and Rex Odell, his brothers, David Lee and Mark, and cousins Jim and Ellen. Inurnment services will be held at a later date. Please sign the Book of Memories, light a candle, and leave your condolences for the family at

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