Saying Goodbye to “the Bear”. Jerry Harrington.

Jerry Harrington passed away in July, and like others that have left us far too soon, he will not soon be forgotten as we keep them close in our memories.  We all have our own stories from the time we shared with “the Bear”.  He was a unique soul with his own defining character, and someone who always had a smile and liked to kid around and have fun.  I remember him joking with me one day and saying how he really only liked 5 guys on the floor and he raised his hand, stretched wide, for emphasis.  I looked at this big guy who was strong and intimidating, and the centre for the Carleton Ravens football team, and sheepishly asked if I was one of them.  He said nothing but smiled and laughed.  It reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where Jimmy wants to be Jerry’s friend but Seinfeld tells him “I really only have time for just 5 friends”  From that moment on, it was a running joke with us, as I would approach him in the hallway on the floor on any given day, with my hand outstretched in front of me, and ask, “Am I one of the lucky 5 today?”.  It was like asking permission to proceed (LOL).

As we get together this coming week-end to once again remember the times we shared and to re-connect, lets take a moment to share some of the memories we had with Jerry.
Send them to me with a picture if you have it, and I will add it here on this post.  I have my own stories that I may share later, but for now I want to open it up to everyone else.

Stephen Hearst (Singapore) attended Jerry’s funeral in Pembroke and the floor also sent flowers.  The banner in the picture above, from the 2015 Panda Game, was proudly displayed and accordingly to his wife Mary, that meant so much to Jerry.   The link below is from the announcement from the funeral home that has a great video of his life.

Link from funeral home:


From Stephen Hearst (Singapore)

I attended Jerry’s funeral service this afternoon in Pembroke. There were about 250 people in attendance. Afterwards, at the reception in the basement, I had a chance to speak with both Mary and Jerry’s brother Mike at great lengths as well as, Jerry parents. All of them were very appreciative by the fact that I had driven from Ottawa to attend the service. But I felt it was the least I could do for both Jerry and his family.

Mary explained to me that beginning in December 2015 (just after the reunion) Jerry started to feel sick again from his crohn’s and colitis disease, resulting in some  heavy doses of medication, which unfortunately  over the long run started to effect both his liver and kidneys, which in the end due to failure resulted in his passing away. Jerry’s spirits remained very high and he fought the illnesses right up until the end.

Upon his return from the reunion in 2015, he told Mary how happy he was to have attended and reconnect with everyone. More importantly, he was very moved by the banner and all the comments written on it. It meant the world to him. As you can see the banner and his football jersey were on display  at the reception. I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on the banner. I not sure who’s idea that was, but it was  brilliant.

As I drove back to Ottawa, I did with mix emotions. Anger at myself for not attending the reunion, but realizing that I was blessed to have known someone like Jerry and to appreciate the qualities of his personality and the strength of his character.

From Rico Bruni

What do I remember about the Bear? Little things. I remember that he would lend me his football cleats for our intramural games. He would even come out and watch us. I remember one time I walked into the tv lounge spouting some crude and what I thought was funny gibberish. He was standing in the corner apparently watching the television. Then he looked at me deadpan-like, then stepped aside and there was Mary sitting in a chair, behind him. Then he cracked a big smile, and I, red-faced, mumbled some apologies to the lady in the house. The Bear then had a good laugh and I’m laughing about it still. He was a loyal friend, a proud 3rd Russell man and a proud Irish son of Pembroke. Gone too soon. RIP Bear!

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Guy Graveline Written by:

Married to Karin who I met in 1977 while on 3rd Russell. We have 2 boys, and I am a grandfather to Zoe and Margot . Looking forward to getting together with everyone..