ForeverMissed
Tributes
Posted by Laura Duckett on May 20, 2021
I felt like this poem was a reminder that without a perfect life, he chose to be happy, he chose to be present, and he always chose to smile.
“Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there.”
In contrast, he is everywhere. <3

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
By Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Posted by John Rische on May 20, 2021
Been pondering on words I could say-so many touching things said by those who knew him more than I did. We had a random, absolutely by change way of knowing each other. I own his first 1969 corvette race car, and so randomly found he was the original owner and searched his name on the internet. Found him, introduced myself as the owner of his first vette and I could feel his eyes light up that the car still existed. Shared a lot of stories, shared so much info and pictures of the car and his racing life. We got together and meet in person along with his bride Nina. He trusted me with all his records and photos to copy. He came to the track a couple times to see the car on track and even brought the window sticker for the car-amazing! I wish the family continued blessings and continue to remember who Rod was and the wonderful memories-not that he has passed.
Thank you for sharing a small part of him with me and my family.
God bless you all
Posted by Keely Denenberg on May 17, 2021
A Song of Living, by Amelia Josephine Burr

Because I have loved life,
I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have sent up my gladness on wings,
to be lost in the blue of the sky.
Posted by Keely Denenberg on May 17, 2021
To Those Who I Love and Those Who Love Me, author unknown

When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears,
But be thankful we had so many good years.

Posted by Nina Harris on May 16, 2021
It's hard to say goodbye to the man I've known since I was 20 years old. We married and created a home together. We had children and dogs, cars and boats and were blessed with health and happiness. We grew apart several times but always came back to each other because we realized we belonged together matter what else was happening in our lives. 

Now he’s gone and I’m alone. Most of the time I’m okay – if you ask me that’s how I’ll respond. But other times sadness hits me and I have to cry, like now. 

I am so thankful for memories of our time together. I am thankful for my family and friends and neighbors who say and do thoughtful things. This site means so much to me because it’s a reminder of everyone who loved him and will miss him as much as I do.

Thanks to all of you…

Posted by Reed Harris II on May 16, 2021
Rod was a great uncle and I shared his love for cars. I look back fondly on him always having a car race on the tv when I would visit or hearing his stories of his latest race or car modification. I always loved the picture of him on the wall in his white Corvette Stingray. In some ways he understood my love for “driving too fast” much more than my Dad who would never condone it :)
RIP Uncle Rod, you lived life at full throttle and will be missed dearly
Posted by Toni and Maury Dean on May 12, 2021
My brother-in-law Rod Harris--a Celebration
   Rod Harris is one of the most friendly and kind and unique people I have ever known. My brother-in-law over half a century, Rod was the living embodiment of the expression--"You can take t he kid out of Michigan, but you can never take Michigan out of the kid." A Mechanical Engineering major at Michigan State, Rod was a cinch for success in most everything he attempted. My wife Toni's sister Nina also found this young man in vigorous pursuit of whatever the American Dream might be. Amped by his mechanical genius and a speedy rainbow, Rod found his destiny in the land and waterworld of racing. Rod sprinted around the USA, including Watkins Glen Raceway, in a series of Shelby Mustangs, Dodge V-10 Vipers, or supersonic sizzling Camaros--plus Nina's Mazda Miata. All of these prime props found Rod Harris the roads of glory, but his destination was always home to his spectacular family. It includes his wonderful wife Nina, his tremendous daughter Keely, and cool Sustainable Engineer son Tyler, and a series of Golden Retrievers from Buffy to Mac to Rumor to currently bereaved Bianca. In Rod's later Texan years after his St. Clair Michigan river house, Rod expanded his legendary grandfather role to Mia and Leo. When Toni and I vagabonded our own family way from Vancouver to Miami to Long Island, Rod at 30 had been an exec at a Boston's Raytheon, and a San Francisco 'Autotorium,' near my sister Blair and Bob Cooter's place. Rod always enlightened Toni and our kids Lauri, Jeremy, and Rambha on how to keep our chariots humming. Rod and Nina and their burgeoning family also thrived in Novi, Farmington, and Sterling Heights, Michigan, and Bloomington, Indiana. Both Nina and Toni became Librarians, to complement Rod's entrepreneurial success in the automotive, boating, and sports car world, and my own academia adventures. From a personal perspective, Rod's racing wasn't confined to Goodyear tires. Rod had many years as a fearless marathon runner [Detroit Free Press Marathon, 1982+], crunching the elusive 8-minute mile for 26+ miles. Rod convinced me that I too could go the distance unslowly in racing shoes (good thing, since our clunky minivans never won any super-speed prizes). Rod's easygoing smile, amiable nature, kind manner, and tireless empathy for our mother-in-law Leota Piazza (1909-2007) showed that he was an ideal man for Nina, who deserves the best. Rod and I were hampered by one quirky thing: we could NEVER tell mother-in-law jokes, because our sweet mom-in-law was the gold standard! One cold 2010 night Rod and Nina stopped by our cottage, and we had a big fire in the new fireplace. Rod was in a great mood, and mentioned one highlight of his enchanted evening--"We sat there by that warm roaring fire, and I got to watch YOU out there in the cold chopping the WOOD!" We Deans have been blessed by a half-century of the adventures of Rod Harris, and we lament that it's not near enough TIME!  So long, my friend-----Maury Dean

Posted by Toni and Maury Dean on May 12, 2021
In Memory of Rod Harris

Rod has been a part of our lives since shortly after my sister Nina and Rod met at Michigan State University. We are a MSU family. Nina and I lived in the same dormitory for a year, after which Maury and I were married in 1965. After that, we all moved from place to place, through the years, but have always remained close. We were part of their wedding in Ludington in 1967 which was a great celebration. 
Rod was always welcoming us to their home. Because we eventually settled on Long Island, NY, we mostly visited when we spent summers at our place on a small lake in Union Lake, Michigan. They were among our first visitors to the fixer-upper cottage that kept us anchored in our Michigan roots. That is when we established our tradition of the Un-birthday celebrations each summer with the cousins. Our children Lauri, Jeremy, and Rambha always loved spending time with Keely and Tyler and their Aunt and Uncle.
It was wonderful that we could remain close despite the hundreds of miles between our homes. Rod was always able to advise us on which cars to purchase, and how to deal with the mechanical problems that arose. He was very skilled in his field, and always helped us with auto advise. 
A particularly kind and generous aspect of Rod’s personality was how he shared their home with our Mother, Leota Piazza. He and Nina set up a very comfortable apartment for Mom. Each evening she shared dinner with them, and was well cared for there in her later years. I will always be eternally grateful for that kindness. The lighter side of Mom’s time with them was how many times Rod moved her “stuff” from place to place as she transitioned to other homes. 
Rod was a wonderful brother-in-law, who was more a brother, and we will greatly miss his smile, his kindness, and his generosity. We can’t forget how our grandsons enjoyed his company particularly those boat rides on the St. Clair River where Rod so enjoyed his time there.
So many years! So many good times. We will miss Rod! 
Toni Dean, Nina’s Sister

Posted by Robert Dykema on May 8, 2021
Rod was a favorite cousin We are same age and grew up together ,We did many fun activities during the 1950' s early 1960's when we saw each other,Went fishing swimming Spring Lake Michigan Played baseball many times .Went to movies and places to eat together .Remember swimming in St Clair River at St Clair Michigan .The river current was very strong We were happy we made it back to shore,I was happen to be a groomsman in his wedding in 1968 .He has wonderful wife and family who I love and respect always .I will never forget Rod and he will always be in my heart forever .Rod was always nice to everyone he met He had the most wonderful smile that showed his love and respect of you.




Posted by Keely Denenberg on May 7, 2021
My cousin Tiffany, who lost her father/my uncle/Rod's brother not that many years ago, suggested a write a list of my dad's qualities. I thought I would share them here. Certainly it's not a complete list but this is a good start.
Optimistic
Generous
Capable
Confident
Fun-loving
Stubborn
Action-oriented
Friendly
Welcoming
Extrovert
Loving
Hard-working
Motivated
Competitive
Moody
Charming
Hospitable
Posted by Penny Knapp on May 7, 2021
The first time we met Rod was when he was interested in purchasing our 2001 Trans Am Camaro Blaise had built. In 2003, Blaise & Rod decided it would be easy for him to come up, stay over night at our place so that they could spend some time going over the car. I was not impressed that Blaise had invite a stranger he met over the internet to stay with us. It took about 2 minutes to realize that Rod was a kind gentle man and I felt like I knew him forever.

It is truly amazing how small the racing community is; how we all know each other through someone else and how we become long lasting friends and part of the family on chance meetings. What started off as a transaction turned into years of Rod, Nina, Keely & Tyler spending many days with us at many race tracks in Canada and the USA having a great time together. When Rod sold this race car, he & Nina joined our Team and travelled all over the place to help us out.

Our hearts are broken over the loss of Rod, our "racing" brother, our friend. May Rod's memory be a blessing to all of you as it is to us. 

With Love,
Penny & Blaise
Posted by Patricia Quinn McIlrath on May 4, 2021
Our time with Rod was always well spent because he didn't have social boundaries that earmarked people/family. He was glad to see us and gratious to say goodby, listened carefully and asked questions that showed he cared, never appeared to forget anything !!!! , had interesting comments and was never boring! A great person who will be missed by all.
Posted by Annette Gibson on May 3, 2021
“Baby sister,” that was Rod’s loving name he gave me. Of course, it annoyed me as a child. But I finally realized that when he would start a phone conversation with “how’s my baby sister doing,” it was out of love. Oh how I’ll miss him saying that....

As Keely noted, I am now the only living person that knew Rod the longest. As noted by so many, his nature was throughout his ENTIRE life- joyous!

As we all have heard, “live your life to the fullest each day” and with positivity. Rod truly did this throughout his life from his challenging job as a teenage with Biewer Lumber company in St. Clair MI to always making everyone feel warmly welcomed and entertained by him. He even made for me (along with my brother Reed and my Dad) the best Halloween haunted house EVER for my birthday party in the basement of our childhood house. Then there was Silver Lake where he made sure that we all were having fun!

Entertainment/music was always a big part of our family. He kept the beat with his talented percussion skills and received scholarships at the highly accredited Interlochen music camp in Michigan. The Sertomonaires was the best drum and bugle corp because he was part of it!

Rod is now smiling & drumming to music in the Harris Band with my brother Reed on the trombone, my Dad dancing (& drumming too), and my mother singing (yes, she could sing). 

Rod and I had such a special brother-sister connection and his “baby sister” will miss him dearly.
Posted by Keely Denenberg on May 3, 2021
"Colorful" by Rocco DeLuca is a song I've started to associate with my dad, as the lyrics remind me of him and how he lived his life.

Here are the lyrics:

You swim like you're on fire
Live like your last day
Drink like it's water
There's no tomorrow
And you think no one can hear you
Raise your hands to be called on
You know all the answers

You're the most colorful thing that I've seen
You're the most colorful thing that I've seen
You're the most colorful thing that I've seen

You dance like no one's watching
Sing till the song ends
Then you sing some more
And we can hardly believe it
Words that flow from your mouth
Drink like it's water

You're the most colorful thing that I've seen
You're the most beautiful thing that I've seen
You're the most colorful thing that I've seen

You are an enigma walking
Make no excuses for the way that you carry on
And we can hardly believe it
Words that flow from your mouth
Drink like it's water, girl
Drink like it's water, girl

You're the most colorful thing that I've seen
You're the most beautiful thing that I've seen
You're the most colorful thing that I've seen
You are so colorful

If you'd like to listen to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_6A4G6nDxw
Posted by Gary Denenberg on May 3, 2021
Boppa was my father-in-law and I couldn't have asked for a better one. He welcomed me into his family day 1 and was so pleasant and easy our entire time together. He was game for anything and was always there with a helping hand. My kids adored him and he would light up whenever they entered the room. Rod's passing is very sad, especially since he and Mia & Leo had such a small block of time together.

It's been difficult watching Keely suffer with the loss of her dad, but I do understand as she loved him so much. Whether it was waking up at sunrise to take Keely water skiing when the water was the calmest or helping her fix things he was always available and happy to be involved.

Such a great guy that I will really miss
Posted by Steve Cobb on May 3, 2021
Rod is one of the kindest, friendliest, and most fun people I have ever known.

He facilitated a date for me with my beautiful wife Kimberly long ago.

I will always remember Rod for his caring, loving way.
Posted by Keely Denenberg on May 2, 2021
So many people have mentioned Rod's good nature/friendliness this week as they shared memories of him with me. Here's a tribute to his smile, which he was always generous to offer to friends, family and strangers.
Posted by Keely Denenberg on April 27, 2021
Last night my beloved Dad took his last breath while my Mom held his hand. Father, grandfather, father-in-law, husband, brother, uncle, son, friend – he wore his most important titles with love and pride.

He was the eternal optimist – every glass he saw was half-full, never half-empty. His love of fast cars and water sports was only eclipsed by his love of family, and he got just as much, if not more joy, from seeing other people enjoy the things he loved – especially boating and waterskiing. He was a “doer” – active and up for adventure; as an example, he was always the first person to jump in (never ease into!) the cold water to encourage everyone else, making it all the more heartbreaking to watch him decline in mind and later in body in recent years.

In recent weeks I loved seeing how his face would light up when he saw my mom (they were married for 52 years) and the joy that came over his face when he recognized me. I take comfort in the fact that he knew who I was up until the end. What is very clear to me is how much he loved us – unconditionally - and how proud he was of Tyler, Mia, Leo and me.

I’m so grateful for the time I had with him as my father for almost 48 years, as well as the time I had with him over the last few days while, as the hospice nurse put it, his body did the “hard work.” I was able tell him many times how much I loved him, how much I would miss him, and recount memories of the amazing adventures we had together. I love you Dad.

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