James “Jim” Edward Harrison, passed away at 12:37 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, surrounded by his family, after a yearlong battle with glioblastoma. Jim leaves behind a legacy of family, faith, and service.
He was born on July 15, 1946 to William Harrison and Margie (Vandebur) Harrison-McPherson (both deceased). He grew up on a small farm just outside of Westport with his three siblings: Patricia (Harrison) Cruser, Donna (Harrison) Spicer and Gary Harrison (deceased). Jim graduated from Sandcreek High School in 1964, where he ran track and managed the basketball team.
He met the love of his life, Betty (Bush) Harrison, in high school and they married in 1965. He was hired by Cummins Engine Company and worked there until he retired in 2001, after 36 years of service. The couple settled in Westport, where they raised their two daughters, Melissa “Mel” Watson and Tina Fulkerson. Jim got his sons when the girls married Richard “Rick” Watson and Lawrence Fulkerson, and with the arrivals of his grandsons Lee and James Fulkerson.
For many years, Jim resisted the family’s insistence that he and Betty get a dog. Then Ziggy came into their lives. He would often be seen walking the little Yorkie around town, where he would stop to chat awhile with friends and family. When he could no longer walk Ziggy or get out on the golf course to play a round, he enjoyed spinning around town in his golf cart.
Jim lived a life of service to others – he saw needs in the community and didn’t have to be asked to help. He just took care of it. He joined the Westport Kiwanis Club in 1977 and remained an active member until his death. He served the organization as President, Secretary and Treasurer multiple times. In the summer, you could often find him at the local park preparing for ball games, keeping it clean, or mowing the fields. If it was September, he could be found working at the annual BBQ cooking chicken or organizing the Westport Car Show (for over 17 years!).
He enjoyed serving where he could help youth, from helping coordinate the local Little League to the Key Club advisor. Jim instilled in his daughters the importance of education and doing your best at a job. In that spirit, he helped create the Decatur County Top Ten Senior Banquet with the Kiwanis Clubs of Decatur County. He organized the event for the last 35 years that honored high school seniors from both South and North Decatur.
Jim had a heart for those less fortunate. One of his favorite service events was helping with the annual distribution of the Cheer Baskets at Christmas to families in need. He also helped to organize the annual Senior Citizens’ Christmas Dinner every year. He served on the Advisory Board for Township Trustee to help guide how aid would be allocated in his community. He was honored for his community involvement in 2010 with the Westport Community Service Award and in 2012 as Kiwanian of the Year.
Anyone who knew Jim would tell you, the man could not sit still or slow down. He was always doing something. He loved to play golf, and was a regular at Wyaloosing Creek Golf Course. He enjoyed travelling with family and friends. A favorite destination that he visited often was the Great Smoky Mountains, and he and Betty enjoyed spending Januarys in Florida. He shared many golf trips to the Carolina coast and fishing trips to Canada with his friends. Jim also made it as far as Fiji and Alaska for special vacations with the entire family.
Much of what shaped Jim’s love of family and community was his faith. He was a lifelong member of Westport Baptist Church. He was an active participant in the Golden Link Class, and had served the church as a Deacon and Moderator of the church’s business meetings.
Jim trusted Jesus with his heart and his life. He knew that after he died, he would be greeted by a host of angels singing an old country hymn, and that he would hear the words from God, “Well done, good and faithful servant, well done.”
Friends and family are invited to celebrate his life Saturday, April 24, 2021. Visitation hours from 10:00 a.m. until time of service at 2:00 p.m. at the Bass Gasper Funeral Home in Westport with Rev. David Scaggs officiating. We advise visitors to follow social distancing guidelines inside the funeral home and masks are recommended. Memorial gifts may be made to the Westport Kiwanis Club or Our Hospice of Southcentral Indiana. Online condolences can be made to the family at www.bassgasper.com.