ERNEST “ERNIE” HARRIS

Posted On June 17th, 2010 -

ERNEST “ERNIE” HARRIS

Born July 29, 1939, died peacefully at his home in Honolulu on June 11th at age 70, after a valiant battle with cancer. He was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. As a Naval scholarship recipient, he attended Oregon State University where he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering and was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. Upon graduation, he joined the United States Marine Corps. Captain Harris saw battle in Vietnam at Khe Sanh and Hue City and was most proud of the fact that he was able to bring all of his men home safely. Among many military honors and decorations, he was awarded a Bronze Star with Combat V and a Purple Heart for his service.

His Hawaii career began in 1969 with Dillingham Construction. From there he soon moved into the Senior Vice President position with Pacific Construction and then on to Division Manager and Senior Vice President of John D. Lusk and Son where he oversaw the developments of Wailuna, The Heights at Wailuna and Kumulani in the Pearl City/Aiea neighborhoods. His greatest satisfaction was starting The HARRIS Company with his wife, Paula in 1986.

Ernie felt honored to serve as Master of Ceremonies for 20 years in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Day Service. He also took great pleasure in being able to provide 12 full, four-year college scholarships to local public school students from Oahu. He was twice chosen to sit on the board of directors for the Oahu Country Club, and was considered a mentor by many younger colleagues in his industry.

Ernie was a quiet giant with elegant charm. He will be remembered as a brilliant, caring, modest man, whose integrity and generosity inspired those around him. His loyalty to family, friends, fraternity and the Marines, remained constant throughout his life.

He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Paula Harris; son John Harris of Honolulu; daughter Mary Beth Harris Maassen of Arizona; and Bret Withrow of North Carolina.

The family wishes to offer heartfelt thanks to Dr. Jonathon Cho, Dr. Mark Lum, and Dr. Roy Chen for their wonderful care and dedication throughout his journey.

Visitation will be held at Borthwick Mortuary, Mauka Chapel, on Friday, June 18th from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Services will be held at the Newman Center on the University of Hawaii campus on Saturday, June 19th at 11:00am. Captain Harris will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia with full military honors.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his honor to the Newman Center, University of Hawaii, 1941 East West Center Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822.


- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran