Published 10:31 am Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Jan. 1, 1950-Jan. 12, 2023
A resident of Holt, Michigan, Keith Graham Harrison passed away on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in Holt, Michigan. He was born at Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac, Michigan on Jan. 10, 1950. Keith was a 1968-graduate of Cassopolis (Michigan) High School. He held a 1972 Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Michigan State University and a 1974 Master of Arts degree in Ecology from Western Michigan University. He retired from the state of Michigan in February 2005 after serving for 25 years. In addition to his numerous state Civil Service environmental executive positions culminating as Director of the Office of Special Environmental Projects within the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, he also held two gubernatorial appointed positions by then Michigan Governor John Engler (Executive Director of the Michigan Environmental Science Board and Acting Director of the state’s Office of Great Lakes). In addition to state service, he also served as a Special Federal Employee, where he participated in several National Academy of Sciences and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board committees as an invited Ecology Expert. His professional research and work resulted in more than 100 publications addressing a wide range of environmental and natural history issues. Upon his retirement, Mr. Harrison’s public service career was acknowledged with tributes from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan State Senate, then Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, the United States House of Representatives, and then President and First Lady of the United States, George and Laura Bush. Keith belonged to several historical, patriotic, and civic organizations, including the 1865-created Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, in which he served as the National Commander-in-Chief from 2009 to 2011, the 1881-created Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), in which he served as the National Commander-in-Chief in 1994/1995, and Commanding Officer of the SUVCW’s Sons of Veterans Reserve in 1996/97. He also belonged to the Michigan Society of Mayflower Descendants; Society of Colonial Wars; Sons of the Revolution; Society of the War of 1812; Morgan’s Men Association Inc.; Military Order of the World Wars; and Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. He was a Mason (Lodge #252 of Okemos, Michigan and Civil War Research Lodge #1865 of Highland Springs, Virginia) and a Rotarian (Rotary Club of Eaton Rapids). He also was a member of the Michigan Civil War re-enactment organization, 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company B, Inc., and the midwestern reenactment organization, Cumberland Guard. Keith was a Civil War reenactor for 33 years and participated in over 550 reenactments and living histories throughout the United States. He traces his ancestry back to 47 Union Civil War soldiers, 42 of whom served in Michigan regiments and five from non-Michigan regiments. He also had two ancestors who served with the Confederacy. Following the end of the Civil War, several of his Union veteran ancestors joined local Michigan Posts of the Grand Army of the Republic. Keith served as the Board President of Michigan’s Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall and Museum (Eaton Rapids, Michigan) since its inception in 2013, Chair of the Michigan Civil War History Partners, and Treasurer of the Friends of Michigan History. He published four books, one on the Natural History of Cass County, Michigan in 1979), two family genealogies (Ancestry of Nathan Lewis Harrison in 1989 and Ancestry of Nathan Lewis Harrison – Revisited 19 years Later in 2008), and his most recent book (2020) on Cass County, Michigan in the Civil War and the Grand Army of the Republic. Keith is predeceased by his father, John Barnard (1915 – 1986), mother, Maxine Pearl (Lewis) (1920 – 2005) [Lyon, Harrison] McCormick, step-father, Frank McCormick (1911 – 1986), first wife, Linda Diane (Dodson) Harrison (1950 – 2008), and brother, Philip Barnard Harrison (1947 – 2019). He is survived by his wonderful wife, Jean Ann Harrison of Holt, Michigan, his son and daughter-in-law, Nathan Lewis and Sarah Harrison of Grand Blanc, Michigan, brother and sister-in-law, David Dale and Stacie Lyon of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, sister-in-law, Paula Harrison of Niles, Michigan, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins throughout the United States and in England. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at Skinner Funeral Home, Eaton Rapids chapel with burial and a graveside service taking place later that day at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Cassopolis, MI. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., and one hour prior to the service on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the nonprofit Michigan’s G.A.R. Memorial Hall and Museum (224 South Main, Eaton Rapids, Michigan 48827) and/or the nonprofit Capital Area Human Society (7095 W. Grand River Ave, Lansing, Michigan 48906).