David Edward Harbison

Date of Birth

May 3, 1954

Date of Death

October 29, 2020

City of Death

Whidbey Island, WA

On Thursday, October 29, 2020, our beloved David passed away at his home on Whidbey Island, WA, at age 66, his wife Nancy by his side. He will be missed by all his family and friends.

David was born in 1954, in Pasadena, CA, to Edward McClarty and Barbara Josephine (Turner) Harbison. He grew up in South Pasadena and attended Polytechnic School in Pasadena and later Cate School in Carpinteria graduating with the class of 1972. He was the student with succulents all over his porch and he played on the soccer team. He went to the University of Colorado at Boulder for his BA and took coursework at UCSB for his MA. He returned to Cate School as a teacher for 31 years. He was a long-time chair of the history department. He made many significant contributions to the school during his time and was honored with a special assembly and dinner upon his retirement.

In 1980 he married the love of his life, Nancy Pope, and they resided at the school. Their Sunday dinners were legendary. They traveled to China, Scotland, Eastern Europe, and had many adventures. When David retired in 2010 they moved to Whidbey Island, WA.
David was able to enjoy his retirement before the onset of his illness and delved into some pastimes he had looked forward to. He built two wooden boats and played piano in a jazz ensemble. He loved trout fishing and backpacking. He looked forward to taking his students on an annual trip to the Kern River. He was also a birdwatcher and participated in the Christmas Bird Count every year no matter how cold and wet it might be. After his illness became evident he took up boxing as therapy; he got a lot of joy out of that and met some special people.

David was a hardworking and gentle soul. He was very handsome. He had a commanding presence sprinkled with love and humor. He loved listening to jazz, leaving rock and roll far behind.

David was preceded in death by his father, Edward Harbison, and mother, Barbara Keller, and his wife Nancy’s parents, Girdwood and Rachel Pope. He is survived by his wife Nancy, his sisters Shelby Harbison and Kathy Cook and brother Locke Harbison, his sister-in-law Wendy Wasicek and brother-in-law Craig Pope and his wife Peggy. His nieces and nephews: Lacy Selby (Dave), Moss Shacter (Patty), Daniel Harbison, Toby Harbison, Tom, Shannon and Corinne Pope, Brian Wasicek (Jackie), Jennifer Halpin (Brad), and Jessica Masin (Dustin). And six great-nieces and nephews, Rhett and Kate Selby and Sarah and Eliana Halpin and Lily and Hannah Shacter. He also leaves behind first cousins Mary Doan (Tim Hesselgren), Terry Shelton (Peter), Howdy Doan (Colleen), and Larry Doan (Sheila). And Mike Turner (Helen), Danny Turner (Chris), and Peter Turner (Paula), and his Aunt Barbara Turner and Aunt Dudley Doan.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Lewy Body Dementia Association.


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