William Duane Harmon, 82, natural history buff with an encyclopedic knowledge

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William Duane Harmon
William Duane Harmon

After attending the UNC Chapel Hill-Miami football game, where he proudly watched the Tar Heels soundly trounce the Miami Hurricanes, heaven called William Duane Harmon, formerly of Erwin and now of Wilmington, to come on home. He was 82. It had been a red-letter day for the lifelong Tar Heel, who enjoyed the game with his son, Hank; daughter-in-law, Gloria; grandson, Shannon; his wife, Pamela; two of his great-grandsons, Elijah and Micah; and the Roberts family.

Dad had a long and fulfilling life with his wife of 62 years, Elizabeth Hicks Harmon. The two met in French class at Campbell University in 1952 where Dad earned his letter in track and field. The two were married at East Wilmington Baptist Church on May 8, 1953, and one year later, their first of three children was born, with two others following. The three children, Sharon, Hank (Shannon Sr.), and Terry (Teresa) all reside in Wilmington.

In addition to his wife and three children, William Harmon is survived by daughter-in-law, Gloria Cottle Harmon, wife of Hank Harmon; Thomas Wayne Lewis, son-in-law and husband to Teresa Harmon Lewis; grandson, Shannon and wife, Pamela McIntosh Harmon; their children, great-grandsons, Elijah and Micah; granddaughter, Bethany Harmon Pegram and her husband, Matt Pegram; their two children, great-grandsons, Alex and Cody; grandson, Adam Lewis; and granddaughter, Erin Lewis. He is also survived by two brothers, Walter Harmon, of Erwin and Howard Harmon, of Missouri; as well as a multitude of other family members.

Surviving also are special friends Ada and Billy Cottle, the entire congregation of Fellowship Baptist Church, where William Harmon was a deacon and he and Elizabeth worshiped Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for decades under the guiding hand of dear friend and pastor, Gary Arnold Griffin and his wife, Helen.

Mom and Dad lived the life of deep Christian faith for the entire world to see and gave their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren the hope and peace of eternal life. Other special friends include Casey Smith, the Cape Fear Wood Carvers Club of Wilmington and the surviving co-workers he spent over 30 years with at Allied Chemical, which later became HoltraChem, in Riegelwood. He will also be missed by Meow-Meow, his faithful cat.

“Bill,” as so many knew Dad to be called, was an avid fisherman who was never far from the sea, loved hunting and all sorts of outdoors activities. He was an enthusiastic natural history buff with an encyclopedic knowledge of all manner of wildlife, with birds, snakes and an amazing assortment of insects leading the list.

He could name practically every constellation visible in the night sky, identify hundreds of aircraft from either the sound of their engines or their profiles and mimic every bird native to North Carolina. Dad loved to travel and had been in nearly every state in the Union and much of eastern Canada and the Holy Lands. He traveled with his wife and daughter, Sharon, to Ireland in later life and left part of his heart at the craggy Cliffs of Moher and the streets of Killarney.

A life so lived can never be described in words. Rather, William Duane Harmon leaves his life and legacy in his beloved family and among his many friends. His light may be gone from this world but his soul and his spirit will live on forever.

A visitation will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, at Fellowship Baptist Church where a memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. The memorial service will be officiated by the Rev. Arnold Griffin, the Rev. John Griffin and Cape Fear Baptist Youth Pastor Shannon Harmon II.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 707, Hot Springs, NC 28743, the Fellowship Baptist Church Building Fund, or a charity of your choice.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.

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