James M. Harrison


James M. Harrison of Warwick, NY passed away on January 17, 2021 at St. Anthony Community Hospital, Warwick. He was 84 years old.


Born in New York City on January 6, 1937, he was the son of James M. and Anna (Geoghan) Harrison.  James is survived by his wife, Helen (nee Bross); sons, Brendan and his companion, Christine Baumann and Kevin and his wife Kimberly; grandchildren: Angelika Harrison-Lenz and her husband Nick, Kristopher Trausneck,  April Smith,  Colin Harrison, Katherine Harrison, Kelsey Harrison and Kyle Harrison; sisters, Ann Harrison and Patricia Heineman and her husband George; and many nieces and nephews.


“Big Jim” lived a large and adventurous life.  Jim served in the United States Army and Army Reserve after high school.  Upon returning home to the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan, he became a member of the FDNY.  Jim proudly served the FDNY for 29 years, retiring in July of 1989.  Upon retirement, never one to sit still, he became a full time builder in the Warwick area.


James was a wonderful husband and father. He loved to entertain his family and friends, especially his grandchildren. He took great pride in their activities and accomplishments.  He and “the lovely Mrs. Harrison” as he lovingly referred to his wife of 63 years, travelled extensively in their RV, on cruises and tours abroad. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting and fishing, both locally and on trips to Canada and out West.       


 Jim was his best in the kitchen and around the dining table.  He was a superb cook who loved to prepare amazing meals for family and friends.  After the meal his story telling and good humor would stretch long into the night to the enjoyment of all.   Jim had the gift to connect to all around him, with a funny story a few kind words, you became a friend for life.


The Harrison family would like to thank the staff at St Anthony’s Hospital and his long time physician Dr Shah for their warm and compassionate care. 


The family will receive friends on Thursday, January 21 from 2 to 4:00 p.m. and 7 to 9:00 p.m. at Lazear-Smith & Vander Plaat Memorial Home, 17 Oakland Avenue, Warwick, NY. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 22, at St. Stephen RC Church, 75 Sanfordville Road, Warwick.


In lieu of flowers the family ask that donations be sent to the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation, 21 Asch Loop Bronx NY 10475 or online at www.nyffburncenter.com

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To The Harrison Family, We would like to extend our deepest sympathy for your loss. We are praying for all of you and that God may comfort you all. We love you all, Lorraine, BT, Brennan and Al and Joan
Lorraine Komsa
Had the pleasure of working with him on occasion when I worked in Harlem. A good guy and a good fireman. RIP
I am so sorry for your loss. Mr. Harrison was such a wonderful man. I wish you and your families peace and healing. May all of your wonderful memories help you get thru this hard time.
Jennifer Palenik (Maass)
After reading Jim Mellett’s msg., I thought I’d add this; I recall Jim Harrison being generous. His parents set up an account for Jim in a store on Sherman Ave. and Jim would offer me to partake by buying me cookies and such. That always impressed me as money was tight. And then there was the Johnny Ride the Pony games on that same street, boy what fun. Jim got me hired at Knight Fence Co and was grateful for that as well. We enjoyed our work there for sure. Then on to NYFD, we both took the test together. I almost forgot our infamous trip to Canada before I went in the army, that was certainly memorable. Jim was a good friend.
John Ervin
Jim and I first met in the second grade at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs school in upper Manhattan. we both hated school, but the nuns taught us to read and write, for which we were grateful. Our other friend was Lou Distefano, who lived across the street from Jim. Lou went to public school. We joined the Boy Scouts (Troop 790) at OLQM in the seventh grade. We went on one memorable camping trip near a dairy farm in Teaneck, NJ , which was completely undeveloped. We both loved camping, and that worked well later in our hunting trips to Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks, a 6-hour drive. We camped out in tents those first few years in the mid 60's and suffered through some brutally cold weather. We later graduated to a trailer, and eventually went completely soft and started renting a house in Tupper. Every year in early October, I would get a call from Jim asking "goin' huntin'?;" Jim did the cooking in the evening, after a day in the woods and I chipped in at breakfast with my sourdough pancakes, which Jim called "belly bombs." Not everyone felt that way. Jim would go for long treks in the dense woods with the rest of the crew, until his COPD got so bad, he had to stay in the cabin, inhaling his oxygen. He never lost his good spirits though, and we had great fun with the other hunting party members. Now some stories: Jim would frequently mention a guy named "Joe Veskofaly" and warned about getting hit in the "ratazzi." He would use flowery language, as when one of our party, after a number of drinks, slipped under the table we were sitting at and dropped out of sight. Someone came in asking for him, and Jim said "He is in the arms of Morpheus." Once on a trip, we stopped in a little supermarket outside Tupper and shopped for groceries. Jim was looking for ketchup and mustard. He came upon a clerk stocking items and asked, "My good man, where are the condiments?" The guy turned beet red and said, "Oh sir, you have to go to the drugstore to get them." I knew for decades and I will never forget him. He was a loyal, delightful friend and left me with great memories.
James Mellett
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