Longtime Klamath Falls resident Pat Harris died peacefully at home on Saturday, July 17, 2021, following a long illness. She was 82.
Pat was widely known for her many years of teaching in local schools and giving piano lessons in her home, playing at church services, and creating children’s music with a daughter.
Patsy (or Patricia) Lou “Pat” Harris was born on June 18, 1939, in Chickasha, Oklahoma, to Henry Clyde and Freda Lavern (Wilson) Powell.
When Pat was a young child, her family temporarily lived in Memphis with another family that owned a piano. While no one was around, Pat would sneak time playing tunes, beginning her life-long love of music.
When Pat was a teenager in the mid-1950s, the family moved to Ceres, California, where she graduated from high school.
In college, she studied music and education. She also met Ken Thurman at a Methodist youth gathering and they were married in 1961.
After Pat graduated from Fresno State University with a degree in elementary education, the couple moved so Ken could attend Kansas Wesleyan University.
Ken’s ministerial career took them to Methodist churches in Kansas, California, Colorado, and several towns in Washington. Their four daughters were born in three different states.
A few years after the couple divorced, Pat and her daughters moved to Klamath Falls in the late 1970s to be close to her sister, Karen.
Pat met Haldane Harris while square-dancing and later described him as “the finest man I have ever known.” They were married in 1983.
Their careers and pursuit of master’s degrees took them to several stops in Oregon and Washington during the 1980s before they returned to Klamath Falls.
The things that were most important to Pat were her family, her faith, and her music.
She wrote of her daughters: “What pleases me most is that each daughter is a loving, caring, talented and compassionate human being.”
She had a strong faith and was involved in church her entire life. She played music including the beloved pipe organ for Methodist, Presbyterian, and Catholic churches.
In addition to teaching at schools in Oregon and Washington, she gave piano lessons at home her entire adult life until recently. She composed original organ and church vocal music. She also composed, performed, and recorded children’s music with daughter Terri.
This is how Pat described what was important to her: “I do love children, I love God, and I love most people in general. I also love most animals, wildlife, birds, and of course, I do love music.”
She is survived by her husband, Haldane Harris; daughters Katherine “Kathy” Brown (Greg), Sandra “Sandi” Johnson (Rob), Karen Apalategui (Eric), and Teresa “Terri” Finck (Josh); nieces Cindy Anderson, Pam L’Orange and Tanya Hanton; nephew Mike Gabel; and nine grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by brother Richard “Dick” Powell and sister Karen (Powell) Coffman.
O’Hair-Wards Funeral Chapel is handling arrangements.
A celebration of life is at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 31, at Klamath Falls First United Methodist Church, 230 N. 10th St.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the organ fund at Klamath Falls First United Methodist Church.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Pat Harris, please visit our floral store.