Cover photo for John Clayton Harrison's Obituary
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In Memory Of
John Clayton Harrison
1933 2024

John Clayton Harrison

May 23, 1933 — January 6, 2024

Our dad, John Clayton "Jack" Harrison, passed away on January 6, 2024, at the age of 90 years old. Jack was born in Henderson, North Carolina, on May 23, 1933, to the late John and Virginia Harrison. He is preceded in death by his parents and daughter, Ginger Harrison. Jack is survived by his daughters, Lee Anne (Jay) Stookey, Lesli (Dave) Fitzpatrick, and sons John Harrison and Matthew (Christine) Harrison.

While it is hard to sum up a man's life in a paragraph or two, it is especially difficult in the case of our dad. This list of his adventures is hard to fathom but true nonetheless. After high school, dad hitchhiked across the country to California and made it to the Pacific Northwest. He worked as a logger setting chokes and rigging skylines. He worked a season smoke jumping, parachuting in to fight forest fires. He was fireman on an oil-fired steam locomotive with the Northern Pacific Railroad. He returned to Ohio and graduated Kenyon College with a degree in Economics. He joined the Army and achieved the rank of First Lieutenant in the Special Forces. After the Army, he went on to get his Juris Doctor degree and practiced criminal law for forty years in the Dayton area. During that career he made a few forays and detours in his life.

Dad earned his pilot's license and bought a Steerman biplane. He and Harold Johnson, the "Flying Mayor", would dogfight over Kings Island amusement park as Snoopy battling the Red Baron, to the delight of onlookers below. He ran guns to the Contras in South America, for which he paid a heavy price. He drove a dump truck in Florida building roads. He and a partner opened a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Cocoa Beach, Florida. He went to school to become a commercial oil diver and repaired pipeline fittings on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. He went to Arizona and achieved his certification to become a crop duster, after which, he started a crop dusting business (Bayou Dusters) in Delhi, Louisiana. For a few years, fought the tenacious bowl weevil with two Grumman Ag-Cat biplanes.

In the '80s, our dad decided to return to the law and resumed his practice. He also started a travel agency and traveled around the world riding the Orient Express across Europe, climbing the Great Pyramids, walking on the Great Wall of China, and hiking to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. He flew his twin-engine Cessna 310 to Angel Falls in Venezuela and nursed his plane home with a major oil leak in one of the engines. While this cumbersome and staggering list is probably not complete (or in perfect order), it gives a hint as to what kind of man our dad was.

Our dad had soaring triumphs and soul-crushing defeats and while we believe he had more of the former, in all, he was our dad and we miss him very much.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fisher House Foundation, which provides a home away from home to families whose loved ones are receiving medical care at major military and/or VA medical centers.

Visitation will be held from 2:00pm-3:00pm on Saturday, February 10, 2024 at Newcomer Funeral Home (3380 Dayton-Xenia Rd., Beavercreek), where funeral services will begin at 3:00pm.

To share a memory of John with the family or leave a special message, please click on the Share Memories button above.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, February 10, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Service

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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