Barbara “Barb” Alice Harrison, 68, peacefully left for her heavenly home on Friday, May 31, 2019 in the presence of her husband, Bill and two daughters, Andra and Alyssa, at their home in Hermiston. Barb was the second of four daughters born to Howard and Bernice Bungard on February 15, 1951 in Bremerton, Washington.
Barb grew up on a gentleman’s farm, with 24 fruit trees and a large garden. Barb spent her time outdoors exploring and taking care of their family’s animals which included, horses, cows, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs, and cats, and she especially loved riding horses. From her childhood came wonderful stories; like the horse her parents purchased with an unknown pregnancy, the scandal of raising chickens in their basement during the winter, ducks getting their bills stuck from eating too many slugs and a heifer that gave rides and would eat peanut butter sandwiches. Barb’s father, known for his green thumb, instilled into her an appreciation for nature and how to plant and grow gardens. Barb’s mother, being a 4-H mom, nurtured Barb’s love for cooking and sewing as well as crafting.
Some of Barb’s fondest memories growing up were spending time each summer at Lake Stevens, Washington. Her grandparents lived on the lake and next door was her uncle, aunt and two cousins. Barb, her sisters and cousins would spend many hours in the lake swimming and learning how to water ski. There were stories of the many pranks her cousins would play. The board and card games where cheating was a common theme by her uncle, for he loved to see reactions to his mischief. Barb’s aunt would even turn a blind eye whenever they would be caught jumping on the beds.
Barb attended Central Kitsap High School graduating in 1969. She then enrolled in classes at Western Washington University in Bellingham to become a teacher. She got her inspiration from her mother, who was also a teacher for the local elementary school and taught play school in the basement of Barb’s childhood home. Barb received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education and accomplished this in only three years.
In 1972, she landed in Guam with a two-year teaching contract. Shortly after arriving on Guam, she found a loving church which became her family away from home. It was during this time she truly grew in her relationship with God. Barb would spend time at the Christian Servicemen Center where military personnel and teachers would socialize, have bible studies and participate in community outreach.
Barb met the love of her life, Bill Harrison, at the Christian Servicemen Center. Bill was serving in the Navy and stationed at the Naval Communication Station on Guam. Barb and Bill attended the same church and became friends over the following year. August of 1973 they began dating and two months later they were engaged. Bill proposed at Guam’s “Lover’s Leap”, a high cliff overlooking the ocean. The two flew back to the states to be with family and to have a wedding; tying the knot on New Year’s Day 1974.
As Barb finished her school year and Bill finished his tour of duty, the couple moved back to the Pacific Northwest. Barb continued her teaching career in Patterson, Washington and Bill pursued his Bachelor’s degree. Five years later they started a family, Andra was born in 1979 followed by Alyssa in 1985. The couple with their new family settled in Hermiston, Oregon in 1981.
Barb, embracing the life of a wife and mother, became proficient in baking, canning, sewing, crafts, and sharing her love for the outdoors by planting gardens and surrounded her home with flowers. One year, Barb brought all her talents to the forefront with entries in the Umatilla County Fair; she was awarded Homemaker of the Year. She shared this passion with her girls, investing hours helping them with their own county fair entries. Barb was supportive of her children’s interest, including helping her youngest make a specimen collection board of bugs to enter into the fair. Unfortunately for the woman taking entries at the county fair; she screamed in surprise when the insects that were collected were not quite dead yet.
Even though Barb suffered from pet allergies, especially cats, she still allowed her girls to have a variety of animals: fish, lizards, gerbils, walking stick insects, large and small dogs, but no cats. However, at age of nine, her oldest daughter prayed and prayed for a cat, and sure enough, two small kittens where found abandoned under their family home and Barb being the wonderful mother she was couldn’t deny her daughters from keeping the kittens -- but outside of course.
With Barb’s passion for teaching young children, she primarily taught first grade spanning a thirty-year career; twenty-seven years in the classroom and three years at the ESD. She taught in the US territory of Guam; in Patterson, Washington; and in Hermiston, Irrigon and Boardman, Oregon. She loved reading to her students especially Dr. Suess books. Her favorite book from Dr. Suess was “What was I Scared of?” The book illustrated how understanding and acceptance of differences can dissolve boundaries, and create friendships and respect for others. She strived to create this kind of environment for her students. She always encouraging them to work hard and to follow their dreams.
She relished family celebrations, trips to the ocean with her husband, taking walks on the docks in Newport and the sandy beaches of Oregon. She loved watching the waves crash on the shores and listening to the fog horns of fishing vessels. Barb especially enjoyed the salty air of the Coast and the smell of fresh pine of the forest. Christmas was Barb’s favorite time of the year, spending her time baking, decorating, drinking hot cocoa and watching snow as it fell. She loved how Christmas would bring the family and friends closer.
Barbara, preceded in death by her father Howard and mother Bernice, is survived by her husband Bill Harrison and their two daughters Andra Spencer and Alyssa Harrison; Andra’s husband Mathew Spencer, four grandchildren: Illumination, Ember, Elijah and Elladaya, and Barb’s three sisters Janan Eppig, Patricia Coomes, and Cynthia Jaquay.
A celebration of life service will be held July 27, 2019 at New Hope Community Church by invitation.
Please share memories of Barb with her family at burnsmortuaryhermiston.com
Burns Mortuary of Hermiston, Oregon is in care of arrangements.