Richard Gardner Harmon - age: 89
(January 15, 1922 to September 03, 2011
A private graveside service was held at the family burial plot on September 8, 2011 at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Saco followed by Military Honors. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Elsie Raymond, Nurse Supervisor C-Unit and the staff of the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough for the wonderful care shown to our Dad. Arrangements were conducted by Dennett, Craig & Pate 365 Main Street, Saco. Private condolences may be posted to www.DCPate.com.
Richard Gardner Harmon, 89, of Saco, died Saturday September 3, 2011 at the Scarborough Veterans Home. He was born on January 15, 1922, the son of Judge C. Wallace Harmon and Georgia Chadbourne Harmon. He was married in January 1944 to Lorene Record.
He was a proud graduate of Thornton Academy, the class of 1941, attended two years of law school at the Boston University School of Law and graduated from Portland Junior College (now USM). He entered the V-12 Officers Training program at Bates College and later became active duty, sailing for Hawaii aboard the battleship USS Wisconsin on her maiden voyage en route to his duty station. He served on the heavy cruiser USS New Orleans throughout the war as a supply officer and paymaster. Being only 5' 7" in height, he spoke with a smile of being escorted by two, very tall and hardy sailors' topside to dispense pay to the crew.
Richard was stationed with the 7th fleet in the South Pacific during its invasion campaign against Okinawa. Their ship endured an onslaught of Kamikaze attacks, one of which nearly struck the ship. He described a Japanese plane diving toward their ship and they had no time to turn their 8" guns around for an effective defense. A neighboring vessel in the fleet shot down the plane, with only minor damage to the New Orleans. On hearing the account, we told him "Lucky for you, Dad" and he replied ôLucky for you!" Mr. Harmon wrote of these experiences of a small town boy going off to war in a book entitled Just a "Lucky Guy - My Pacific Diary", a memoir treasured by his friends and family.
Richard was an avid sports fan, attending almost every TA football game with his brothers and many Red Sox games in the 60's and 70's with his children. After the war and law school, he joined the Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution, working for over 40 years in mortgage and loans in the Saco office, a position he truly loved until retiring in 1995. He spent his retirement years on the beach at Reggio Avenue at OOB, writing his war diary with his wife Lorene and his grandchildren by his side.
Richard was predeceased by his parents, his beloved wife Lorene, brothers Arthur and John, both of Saco and his sister Florence. Surviving are his children Philip, Stanley and Cynthia; grandchildren Tyler, Ryan, Jesse, Holly, Christopher, Cory and Aaron. Also surviving is his sister-in-law Mona Harmon and numerous nieces and nephews.