ForeverMissed
Stories
Shared by Phyllis Schmidt on October 19, 2020
Dear Warren,  I'm not sharing a story but I want to thank you for being in Larry's and my life for many years. I am thankful for your kindness, you and EdLou. You supported us in many ways throughout Larry's career and forgiven me for my clumsiness as a guest in your home. You and EdLou are so gracious. I cry for ELlou . I know you are in heaven. I cry when I think of you and I cry when I think of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I don't know how you are connected in my mind but you were both are so fair minded and we lost both of you is a short period of time. I can hardly type through my tears. Thank you for being such a good friend.

The Prophet, On Marriage by Kahlil Gibran

Shared by Lisa Harper on October 18, 2020
When Steve and I got married in 2002, we asked Warren to say a few words during the ceremony. He chose this beautiful poem that we have always loved and cherish even more now. While the poem itself is intended to represent a marriage, there are many life lessons within these words, including some that feel applicable to the emotions we are experiencing with Warren's passing. We especially appreciate the verse about the oak and the cypress.

Warren always seemed to have a way with words. He knew how to give a proper toast, and on special occasions I looked forward to his words followed by the merry clinking of glasses and loved ones laughing together. I'll miss the tear in his eye and the crack in his voice during a sentimental moment. I'll miss his words, his wisdom, his poetic nature. With this poem, we'll remember... 

The Prophet, On Marriage by Kahlil Gibran

You were born together,
and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings
of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the
silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between
the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous,
but let each of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone
though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress
grow not in each other’s shadow.

31 YEARS AGO TODAY. 10/17/2020rGr

Shared by John Rector on October 18, 2020
To honor Warren I have to tell a story. This is not a Forest Service story about what an anchor was to us while serving in the Washington office, which he most certainly was. Nor is it a story about the ribald after work get togethers or bar crawls, though there were many. This is a story of 31 years ago today, October 17, 1989. A story of Warren Harper as a human being, a caring friend.
SETTING
On that date Mr. Harper and I were attending an Environmental Protection Agency meeting in Fort Collins Colorado at the Holiday Inn, now the Hilton Hotel. The topic of the meeting, developing Total Maximum Daily Loads as limits for pollution for surface water flows. TMDL, a scintillating topic no doubt. As many such EPA meetings were, the two of us were bored to tears.  My suggestion that day ‘Hey Warren let’s sit at the back of the room and sneak out early. The third game of the World Series is on at 5:00 pm. It’s the Bay Bridge series, Giants vs the Oakland A’s! I know a great college bar where they have a floor to ceiling TV, great burgers, buckets of fries and scooters of beer as long as your leg.’ With his famous grin and a nod of his head, we were on. At 4:30 pm we left the meeting, hopped in my rental car and made off for what portended to be a great evening. When we walked in everything was as I’d advertised. Jammed with college students, beer, burgers and fries everywhere. Only one thing wrong.  On the floor to ceiling TV was are-run of Roseanne! Undeterred I hustled to the front of the bar to as the folks with the remote on there table if I could turn on the game. 
MORE THAN A GAME HAPPENING
The reply I got from the table floored me. “There ain’t no game man. They had an earth quake, the stadium cracked open, the bridge fell down and the city is on fire.” I found a pay phone by the front door and tried to call my home. The canned message I got “Were sorry, but due to the emergency situation all incoming calls to this area code are not being permitted at this time.” Starting to panic a bit, I went back to our table and conveyed this message to Warren.
THE FRIEND
Warren suggested we go back to the hotel. Noting I was distressed, picked up the keys an announced that he would drive. Back at the hotel we went to my room and turned on the TV. The coverage of the quake at that time was being provide by sports casters in the Goodyear blimp flying over the Bay Area. Zoom shot- ‘The Golden Gate Bridge has fallen down’. Screams John at the TV “That’s not the Golden Gate, that’s the Bay Bridge!”  Zoom shot- ‘San Francisco is on fire.’ Screams John “Thats the Marina District not down town!” Zoom shot- etc, etc etc. What has happened to my home? My family? Getting more panicky I ranted and raved at the TV. Damn sports casters. Warren quietly sat on the edge of the bed watching and nodding. Twenty failed phone calls later Warren suggested I try the Office of Emergency Services in Denver. Maybe the OES can all through. I called the OESand learned they had an automatic rotary dial system Into which they could enter my name, number to called and message to be sent.  I was assured the message “Call me please” be sent on a reoccurring sequence. I was number 1,871 in the sequence of numbers being called. My frustration grew. Warren stood up, picked up the car keys a left the room. I sat staring at the TV, mouth open, hands wringing. A half and hour later Warren came back carrying dinner and two six packs of beer.  We sat, ate, drank and watched.  Warren said nothing only nodding at my continued protestations.  Finally some news reporters took over and real news came on. Yes, it had been a 6.9 magnitude quake. The stadium had cracked, the Marina district was on fire and buildings sinking due to liquification  of the land fill. The BayBridge did drop a 50 foot span onto the lower deck and the upper deck of the Nimitz Freeway had dropped onto the lower deck. The tragedy was real. But what about the suburbs? We sat, stared and ate, two friends, helpless in Fort Collins.  Into the wee hours we sat. Warren did not leave until some time after I finally fell asleep. The next morning bright and early Warren was banging on my door. He was there with a cup of coffee and the news that he had contacted the airlines and had reserved me a flight out of Denver and I had better get going. With that he wished me well and left. I packed, drove to the airport and flew home.  To my relief, finally, I found that my family and home were fine. 
AND SO WHAT
Why this long story, for which I do apologize. I had to tell the story for me to reaffirm in my mind, and hopefully now in yours, what a true friend Warren Charles Harper was and always will be to me.  A real friend in a situation like mine doesn’t talk, he listens.  He’s there when you need him and takes action when action is warranted.  No, Warren didn’t hold my hand, but he didn’t leave me alone.  He listened to my rantings without judgement. He drove home from the bar, got food for us, got me coffee and an early plane reservation simply understanding that those things needed to be done. Empathy, understanding and quiet action that’s my most personal and important memory of Mr. Harper I can share.  Besides being a professional support, of utmost importance, his friendship. Gods speed and rest in peace my pal. 

Shared by Amy Foster on October 16, 2020
When I was 8 years old, I was going to fly across the country to visit Papa and Grammylu.  I flew by myself and was very scared and nervous.  The flight attendant was very kind and kept an eye on me.  When the plane landed I was one of the last passengers to get off the plane.  I was escorted by a flight attendant and was very nervous and unsure of what to do.  As soon as I got to the gate, I saw him.  There was my Papa.  He was on one knee with his arms opened wide and a big smile on his face.  All my nervous fears washed away.  I ran to Papa, he engulfed me in his arms and gave me the most comforting hug.  His hug was filled with so much love.  He made me feel so safe and cherished.  He had such a kind and gentle demeanor, and I always felt important when he talked to me.

Papa, I look forward to seeing you again in Heaven, and I look forward to your hug.

Your loving Granddaughter,

Amy

Dear Papa....from granddaughter Lindsay❤

Shared by Traci Shank on October 6, 2020
The first thing I want to say is thank you, thank you for your kindness, thank you for caring so much, thank you for being there for my mom when her dad couldn't, thank you for being there for gramu and making her feel so special, beautiful and loved, thank you for being a great papa, thank you for everything you did, but most importantly thank you for your love. Papa you had the biggest heart, you loved everyone so much and we are so thankful for that. I'm sorry that people couldn't be more careful, I'm sorry that people didn't listen when they said people are dying from Covid, I'm sorry no one cared enough, I'm sorry that you didn't get to give anyone a proper good-bye, but I'm mostly sorry that the last time I saw you, I was too focused on my phone and not my family. I wish we got to have one of our long talks about life and history because you were so smart, I wish I hugged you more, you always gave the best hugs. Things will be so different without you. I'll miss your pancakes, our trips to DC, the shows we went to, I'll miss the way you smile and the way you laugh. I'm gonna miss you papa! I know you are in a better place now, I know you aren't in pain anymore, I know you will always look out for me and my family. I still can't believe you're gone, it's not real, I want to wake up and go to your house and see you sitting in your chair smiling, or you coming in from taking Amber on a walk. I love you papa. saying goodbye to you was one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with. I've never lost someone this close to me and I will never ever forget you, you will always be in my heart. I love you papa. Thank you!

Thankful that you were in our lives...

Shared by Traci Shank on October 6, 2020
Warren, my stepdad, had been in my life since I was 5 years old. I didn’t appreciate him much while growing up because he was so quiet and seemed uninvolved. As an adult, that changed, because I was able to understand that he was just quiet and that he stood back, and let everyone else shine while he took it all in, and that was just his way. My life is full of wonderful adventures such as camping, hiking, traveling and driving across the United States when we moved from WA State to Virginia. My kids are also blessed to have many of these memories with their Papa and Gramu. They especially loved Papacakes and Papacorn. 

Warren loved his family so much and we knew we could count on him for anything. He was our rock. A wonderful husband, who loved my mom deeply, dad, stepdad and especially papa!! At our family dinners together, Warren would do our prayer because he did such a beautiful job. It would touch my heart each time because I would watch is eyes fill with tears and emotion because he was so thankful for his family and his life.

Our hearts are breaking that COVID-19 took you from us, Warren/Papa. Although, I know you will still be loving us and watching over us, probably with a bowl of popcorn, in heaven. We miss you so much and we will always love you!! Blessed to have had you in my life and my kids lives. 
R.I.P Warren/Papa
Shared by Mark Harper on October 6, 2020
Dear Dad

I am crushed that COVID so quickly and cruelly took you from me. You were what we all aspire to be in our retirement years; a young, vibrant, active and healthy 81. I have been trying to come to terms with all of this over the past many days. I am angry and sad when I think of what you had to go through with this terrible disease, how you must have been scared and confused. I choose to believe that you could hear our voices during your time in the ICU and hope that they brought you some comfort.

As I try to resolve all of this in my mind, I keep coming back to the theme of time. Time; where has it gone? How does it manage to fly by so quickly? The lessons learned from time and how important time is. I have been considering and remembering my time with you.

When I was very young, you took the time to occasionally bring me along on your rounds as a Forest Ranger in the Rocky Mountains. I loved the opportunity to be with you, the smell of the old Forest Service pickup and the bouncy and dusty gravel roads. I watched you do simple things like take water samples from streams, paint tall road markers that would be used when the snow began to fly. I learned life lessons in those simple times like cherish and protect our mountains and natural environment. A love of the mountains that is a part of my DNA today. I remember the time you gave to introduce me to amazing adventure of sliding on the snow. The Saturdays that we would drive to the ski hill, the cold, the slippery roads, the tire chains, the old Chevy wagon that was known to breakdown was special. Skiing became a huge passion in my life and something that continues to this day. As I got a bit older, you gave me your time to do projects together like build Pinewood Derby cars. The end results at the derby’s always seemed to be a disaster. We never came even close to placing. Didn’t matter, I had pride in what we had created together.

As I began to move into adolescence, time began to be a more precious commodity. Life became confusing and complicated. You managed to find time to ride the chairlift with me occasionally, usually as an opportunity to discuss how I should be doing better in school “if I would just apply myself”. Before I had my learners permit, you took the time for what must have been a terrifying adventure and taught me to drive a manual car.

There were some real lessons learned about time around my 14th year. We sadly lost connection with each other. We rarely connected or saw each other. The distance was real, both geographically and emotionally. This went on for more than a decade. I think we would both look back and agree that was such a loss. How could so much time pass? How could we miss out on each others lives in such a profound way? Dad, you should know that I survived that time and am alright. You should know that I did a lot of growing up during that time and the hard lessons learned make me part of who I am today. Mostly you should know that while I carry some sadness about that time, I carry no anger or resentment. While there was distance during this period, you did make sure to support me and help finance my college education. For that I am forever humbly grateful.

As a young adult, we began to once again make time for each other. I think perhaps we began to realize the value of time. While the time we had together may have been limited in frequency, we certainly made the most of every minute. Regular journeys began to happen to the east and to the west. I love the time you gave to be completely focused on me, sharing your love and knowledge of being out on the Chesapeake, the boats, the navigation, the weather, the geography. I loved the time we spent having political chats over pints at McGarvey's. I appreciated the way that you always made time for special occasions. I fondly remember the time spent with Steve in Pullman/ WSU for Dads weekend. I am thankful for so many moments that we got to have together; navigating the Ballard locks and anchoring for an overnight at Blake Island, the time that you got to meet Mackenzie and Morgan, casual times and conversation over beer and good food. While it was difficult, you made the time not once but three times for an adventure on the Colorado River – it’s an amazing feat to have navigated the river from Moab all the way through the Cataract and Grand Canyons all the way to Lake Powell. Perhaps one of the most special gifts of time I have ever received, was when you gave me a week of your time to remodel a bathroom in my home. There was nothing vacation about that week, we worked long long days. I enjoyed every minute of that time with you – it was such a wonderful gift. You made time to come and see my girls, the world called and you made the time to come to Mexico and build houses for families in need, you made the time and were there when I finally got it right and married the love of my life Jennifer.

You and I and Steve had made plans to make time and continue some adventures together. Perhaps once or twice a year. Sadly, the Pandemic hit and that vision was never to be.

Dad, you are part of my DNA and taught me to respect and take care of the natural world. To love the mountains and the water. To walk through life as a good human, treating others with empathy, kindness and respect

As I reflect about time Dad, it is more clear than ever before: Never has it been about the amount of money that one makes, the size of the house or the zip code, the lofty career goals – a clear confirmation here that the most important thing is time – giving the gift of time is everything.

I wish I had more time with you

Mark

You are missed

Shared by Tim Frye on October 5, 2020
Papa
thanks for all of the wonderful memories. You were a great father to Trisha and an amazing Father in law to me. Such a calming gentle soul in a world that desperately needs it. I will remember you always and try to put in to practice some of the more laid back behaviors that you modeled for us.

we will all miss you terribly. Your grandkids and great grand kids have some amazing memories of an amazing man that will help your legacy live on.

until we meet again
Tim
Shared by Ryan Frye on October 4, 2020
It’s still hard to believe that I’m sitting here writing this. I’m so lucky that God put me in this family and made you my Papa. Im so happy I facetimed the morning of your birthday as we were pulling out of port to head back out on patrol. I just remember feeling that I needed to call even though I called the night before. I’m so thankful for all the memories we have together. All the effort you and Grammu put into being grandparents. The long days, the long nights, the long trips, from the big things to the Little things like making me Mickey Mouse papacakes. You just loved doing it, you loved being there, you loved me and it never went unnoticed. Not just for  me but every single one of your grandchildren. I’ll never forget all the boat rides we took. I’d like to thank you for introducing me to the water( I don’t think my career choice would have been the same without you.). I absolutely love being out on the sea. All the adventures we would go on. San Antonio, Texas still some of my favorite memories of you.  Riding horses, giant fires visiting the Alamo. Taking me to Chicago to see the Cubs play in one of the oldest remaining ballparks where I got to meet Sammy Sosa. But my all time favorite is seeing how much you loved Mckenzie and how much she loved you. It’s so special to me that the last time we got to see you I was home for the 4th of July to fly over the White House for Salute to America we had 2 days of solid time together and before we left Kenzie got to make here cement hand prints. She made you a Mickey Mouse pancake this morning and told me how much she misses you and loves you. You are an example for what a man is. Kind, loving, understanding, faithful, driven, not shaken easily in your beliefs, but willing see it from another point.  We had lots of good conversations. And that’s what they always were, no matter if we disagreed, it was always a conversation. I will strive to make such an impression on others as you have done for me and my family. I know you’re home now and looking down on all of us smiling. Probably making Melanie Mickey Mouse pancakes as we speak. 
I love you Papa thank you for a lifetime of love and much much more

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