Charles A. Harris, Jr.

May 4, 1930 ~ May 28, 2022 (age 92)

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Charles (Chuck) Albert Harris, Jr. passed away peacefully on May 28, 2022 with family by his side. Chuck was born to parents Charles and Lena (Terra) Harris on May 4, 1930 in Stockton, California. Chuck had just turned 92.

Chuck spent much of his childhood in Dunsmuir, California, along the Sacramento River where he first learned to swim. He graduated from Dunsmuir High School in 1948, and was active in many clubs, sports, and scouting. During the summer months, he worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps and helped create and maintain hiking trails including on Mount Lassen. He was very active and loved the outdoors; he climbed Mount Shasta twice and served as a lifeguard at the Dunsmuir Pool. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, and graduated from Officer’s Candidate School. Using the GI Bill, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1957. While stationed at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, he met his future wife Sara (Sally) Riehman on a blind date. Though not much of a storyteller, he loved to tell the story of how they met. They were married in 1956 and moved first to California, and then to Guam where he worked for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey and taught math and science classes on Anderson Air Force Base. In 1962, Chuck was transferred to Fredericksburg, Virginia. Not long after, he accepted a position as an engineer to assist with the design and construction of NASA’s new Goddard Space Flight Center Magnetic Test Facility. He subsequently moved the family to New Carrollton, Maryland in 1964 where he remained until his passing. He spent over 30 years at NASA and received numerous accolades for his significant contributions to the space program.

Chuck remained active throughout his entire life, staying fit by running, biking, boating, scuba diving, and bowling, but what he enjoyed most of all was swimming. He swam and played water polo for Cal and while in the Army, he competed in the National Swimming Olympic Trials. Chuck volunteered several years on the New Carrollton Pool Board and ensured each of his children learned to swim. As recently as last summer, Chuck could regularly be found swimming laps, slow and steady across the pool. In retirement, Chuck’s passion was the stock market. His family also brought him great joy, he enjoyed spending time together, laughing and eating meals, especially his favorite - Maryland crabs. In the weeks before his death, he was able to visit family and his dear companion Barbara in Northern California one final time, a most cherished trip.

Chuck is preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Lena Harris, brother Stanley, Sara (Riehman) Harris, his beloved wife of 42 years, and daughter-in-law, Kim. He is survived by his four Harris sons Charlie (Lisa), Ed, Patrick (Louise), and Hugh, and daughter Beth (Tom) McCluskey. Chuck also leaves behind 9 grandchildren, and numerous in-laws and nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be held Friday July 8th at 4:00pm at American Legion Post 136, 6900 Greenbelt Rd, Greenbelt, MD 20770. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to a charity of your choice in Charles’ memory.

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Celebration of Life
July 8, 2022

4:00 PM
American Legion
6900 Greenbelt Rd.
Greenbelt, MD 20770
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