BRIDGEPORT, Wash. John Harmon died Oct. 31 at the age of 88.
John was born on Aug. 17, 1918 in Colchester, Ill.,, third of eight children in the family of Rollie Addison Harmon and Ollie Ethel Holt. He grew to manhood in St. Louis, Mo., where his father was minister of the First Christian Church on Fountain Avenue. There he met Lucille Mangers, a nursing student at Missouri Baptist Hospital, and they were married on Easter Sunday, March 24, 1940. During World War II John served in the Pacific in the 7th Armored Division and witnessed the carnage of Nagasaki first hand just days after the horrific bombing brought that war to a close, then returned home victorious to his wife and family in St. Louis, and to study music at Bradley University.
John proved to be a talented musician and aspired to sing in the New York Metropolitan Opera. Instead, family ties brought him to Washington State and employment first with The Milwaukee Road, then the Bonneville Power Administration. A BPA position at Chief Joseph Dam brought John and his family to Bridgeport in 1964 where John was elected justice of the peace in 1970, beginning a 36-year term in the Douglas County District Court as municipal judge for Bridgeport and Brewster, making him the longest-serving judge in Washington state. John was part of many other community activities over the years, including the School Board, Chamber of Commerce, City Council and The American Legion. John was proud to be the founding member of Dollars for Scholars.
Music was always an important part of John's life. Accompanied by his wife Lucille on piano, John led many musical groups in the greater Wenatchee-Okanogan area. Handel's Hallelujah Chorus will forever remind many of John and his passion for spiritual music and energetic musical direction. John helped countless students develop their musical talents with voice lessons over the years and was a regular vocalist in church and community events. John played the cello in the Okanogan Symphony Orchestra.
John is survived by sisters Myrtle Poston, Tacoma, Wash., Margaret Carson, Arcadia, Mo., and Frances Davidson of Yelm, Wash.; daughters Ruth Ann Townsend, Baker City, Mary Jane Sletten, Las Cruces, N.M., Myra Hall, Anderson, Ind.; sons Rex, Index, John Paul, Albany, and Peter of Tacoma, Wash.; 26 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and nine great-great grandchildren.
John was preceded in death on Dec. 22, 2005 by Lucille, his wife of 65 years; brothers, Robert, Glen and Paul; sister, Myra McGreevy; and children, Rollie Harmon and Barbara Stanley.
A memorial service was held at the Adventist Church in Brewster, Wash., on Monday, Nov. 6. A private committal service for family and interment followed at the Bridgeport Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Hillcrest House in Brewster or The Guild House in Wenatchee, Wash.