Vern Alfred Harris, 87, passed away suddenly on August 22, 2022 in Albany, Oregon, not quite five months after moving to be near his daughter and her family. He began his life in Erick, Oklahoma on November 14, 1934, and was the only child of Herman H. and Lottie B. (Morgan) Harris. In 1953, Vern graduated from high school in Seiling, Oklahoma, where he excelled in academics and athletics.
He continued those trends as a student at Southwestern State College in Weatherford (now Southwestern Oklahoma State University), completing a BS degree in pharmacy and lettering in football for the Bulldogs all four years. He was the recipient of many honors and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1957. Vern was a lifetime member of the SWOSU Alumni and Pharmacy Associations and returned for countless football games, campus events, and homecoming reunions over the years. He felt deeply honored to be inducted into the SWOSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
On December 9, 1955, Vern married Yaita Rogers in Shawnee, Oklahoma. They fell in love dancing by the lake and continued dancing throughout their lives. After his graduation from Southwestern, Vern worked briefly in Texas before buying a pharmacy in Maysville, Oklahoma. He and his wife worked together until they retired in 1997. Vern lived in Maysville from July 1959 through March 2022 and had many memories and great stories from those years. He and Yaita were members of the United Methodist Church, and the congregation became an extended family for them both.
Vern was never one for sitting still. He maintained an enthusiasm for sports and turned his boundless energy to running. He and his wife entered road races around the state for years and frequently won or placed in their age divisions. They went rock climbing in Oklahoma and climbed glaciers in Colorado. They loved skiing in the winter and hiking, biking, and camping in the summer. They also developed a passion for travel, visiting every state in the U. S. and countless countries across all seven continents. Everything he did, they did together: husband and wife, business partners, and best friends forever.
Vern was devoted to his family. He made sure his daughter had opportunities for a fulfilling life and was present at all her events, large and small. He was thrilled to have grandsons and did the same for them. More than once he drove five hours on Saturday to watch six-year olds play soccer in Texas, then returned home on Sunday to be back at work on Monday. His affection later extended to great grandchildren, who he saw every Christmas and treated to an action-packed road trip in Oregon one memorable summer. Everyone in his family will remember his quirky humor and zest for life, and none of them will ever doubt the depth of his love.
Vern was preceded in death by his parents and several aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is survived by his wife, Yaita; daughter, Rhonda Myers and husband George O’Brien; grandson Derek Myers and sons Owen and Eliot; grandson Jared Myers, wife Jodi, son Jesiah and daughter Camas; numerous cousins, and many dear friends. He was loved by all and will be greatly missed. His immediate family will have a private memorial service in his honor at a later date.