Jay Norris Harker passed away at Lawrence Memorial Hospital on January 20.
He filled 71 years with love and laughter, a beloved family man who will be remembered for his generosity, selflessness, work ethic, love for adventure and outdoors, and an ability to turn the mundane into a laugh and a memory.
He grew up in suburban Chicago, earned a bachelor’s degree in packaging from Michigan State in 1970 and worked most of the next five decades at the same plant in Topeka, retiring as an engineering manager for Delmonte Foods in 2016. Jay and Sue were married 48 years, raising their son Brad and daughter Katie.
Jay built a house on an island in Canada and a deck in Lawrence and completed a million projects in between, including a two-story wooden playset for his grandsons that he eyeballed off a picture. He loved to fish and hated to eat fish. He loved to host friends and hated talking about himself.
Jay is survived most immediately by Sue, their children, his sisters Kathy Harker and Laurie Harker, son-in-law Sam Mellinger and grandsons Samuel Norris and John Bradley.
A visitation will be held from 4 – 6 p.m. with a Celebration of Jay’s Life beginning at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, January 25, 2020 at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence. A toast will follow at Conroy’s Pub, 3115 W. 6th Street in Lawrence.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Jay’s name be made to the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission Trust c/o Stephen Domeracki, Dir. Corp. Services; 2200 Commonwealth Blvd Suite 100, Ann Arbor, MI 48105; or LMH Health Foundation, 216 Maine St., Lawrence KS 66044 or may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.