Harry E. Kennison died peacefully on February 23, 2019, at the age of 93. He was born and raised in Wallowa, Ore., where his ancestors homesteaded in 1872 after traveling on the Oregon Trail.
A child of the Great Depression, he joined the Marines as soon as he turned 18 and participated in battles at Okinawa and Iwo Jima, where he was one of the last lines of defense against kamikaze pilots. After the war, he returned to the Wallowa Valley, where he became a saw filer at the local lumber mill, and, in 1949, married another Wallowa resident, Mary Elizabeth Jackson Kennison. They were happily married for 68 years until her death in 2017.
At the mill, Harry steadily worked his way up to a management role, eventually becoming general manager of the Kinzua Corporation and holding patents on hydraulic lumber mill machinery. He was so recognized in his field that the Oregon Board of Education consulted with him regarding vocational training. After many job-related moves to small towns across Oregon and Washington (including Pilot Rock, Baker City, Heppner and Omak), Harry and Mary settled down in Salem, Ore., for their retirement. Many happy hours were spent golfing at the Santiam golf course, visiting grandchildren, and exploring exotic locales such as Fiji and Tahiti.
Harry was always passionate about sports, whether it was receiving a football scholarship to Linfield College (which he turned down in favor of serving our country), coaching Little League and Babe Ruth baseball in adulthood, or ardently following Oregon State University football, baseball and women’s basketball until his last few days. He was preceded in death by Mary, their daughter Janine Kennison, and son Kyle Kennison. He is survived and greatly missed by his daughter Kara Kennison (and husband James Baumberger), son Gary Miller (and wife Jolene), six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, as well as countless other family members and friends.
He is remembered for his intelligence, good advice, sense of humor, always doing the right thing, and for being one of the best men we ever met. A memorial service will be held in celebration of his life on Saturday, June 8, at 3 p.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 800 Ellsworth Rd., Vancouver, Wash. Memorial donations in memory of Harry can be made to the KyleKennison Scholarship c/o The University of Idaho Foundation, 875 Perimeter Dr., MS 3143, Moscow, ID, 83844.