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Ronald E. Harriman

PEORIA, Ill.—Ronald E. Harriman, age 71, of Peoria, Ill., passed away Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 at the VA hospital in Danville, Ill. He was born and raised in Pulaski, June 21, 1942, to Nancy Chumbley Harriman and William E. Harriman. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Lee Harriman, his parents, a half-brother and a half-sister.

Survivors include his son, R. Christopher Harriman of Peoria, Ill.; daughter, Pamela Ann Boyd of Alexandria; grandchildren, Austin and Arianna Harrima of Peoria, Ill.; two brothers, Danny (Yvonne) Harriman, of Newbern and Jeff (Chong) Harriman of Roanoke; sister, Doris H. Lawson of Draper, and two half-sisters. Also surviving are numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

In 1960, he joined the United States Marine Corp, and served until 1969, retiring from the military as a SSgt. E6, with total disability from wounds suffered in the Battle of Khe Sanh on Hill “881” in 1968. This was his second tour in Vietnam. Out of nine Marines in his unit, he was the only survivor.  He received two Purple Hearts, Navy Commendation Combat V. Medal, National Defense Medal, and Campaign Ribbons include Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.

He attended Pulaski High School, and then attended New River Community College where he earned an associate degree, and later became a counselor at the college. He went on to earn a masters degree in guidance and psychology from Radford University. In 1980, he and his family transferred to Bamberg, Germany, where he continued his work for the Army. After leaving Germany, the family moved to Peoria, Ill., where he retired.

In December of 2009, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and began the biggest battle of his life. After surgery, he spent most of his remaining days in the care of the VA hospital in Illinois.

A memorial service was held Saturday, Aug. 17, at Swan Lake Memorial Gardens and Mausoleum in Peoria, Ill. Monetary contributions can be made in his memory to the American Cancer Society, or to the VA Illiana Health Care System, 1900 E. Main St. Danville, IL 61832.

3 Responses to Ronald E. Harriman

  1. jackie

    September 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about Ronnie. I think about you guys often. My heart and prayers go out to all of you. Jackie

  2. Marfesa Clark

    September 3, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Dear Family,
    I worked with Ronald at NRCC in the early 70′s. I was his assistant when he was the Coordinator of Veteran’s Affairs. We assisted the Vietnam Veterans returning from service as they were pursing their college degrees @ NRCC under the G.I Bill. It was an often times difficult job as many had injuries, mentally and physically. Ronald was a role model for all of these vets and went the extra mile to ensure that each received the upmost attention and helped resolve problems and issues as they arose.
    Now that I am retired, I can say that this was one of the most gratifying jobs that I had during my working career and working with Ronald was a pleasure. He taught me so much about life, sacrifices and serving others. Although he had handicaps, he never held resentment nor regretted serving his country. He was a true hero. He was admired by everyone who knew him. We worked with another Vietnam vet named Tony, also handicapped (lost both legs in Nam)who like Ronald, was a model of heroism and patriotism. We were a team!

    I thank God that I had the opportunity to learn from both of these heroes. They will forever be in my heart. Please accept my sincere condolences. Also, I did not realize that your mother had passed as well. She was always a dear friend. I thought so much of her also.

    May God bless you and your family,
    In sincere sympathy,
    Marfesa Clark

  3. Donna Campbell

    September 4, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Ron and Mary Lee were friends and neighbors of ours when Chris was just a little boy. I taught with Mary Lee and greatly respected the service Ron gave to our country.