e-mail address: Ed@TimberlineHVAC.com
Residence: Redding, CA
Life since high school:
(September, 2008) I've never done my bio before and fair warning, I've been known to be long winded, so here we go-------------! WAY BACK THEN
Once upon a time, a long, long, long, time ago, there was a boy named Ed Harrison who graduated from Terra Nova High School in 1965. During school I had thought that I would pursue Mechanical Engineering but somehow planning a wedding for December of 1965 seemed to be more important to me. I went to work at Hunters Point Shipyard instead and Linda Kay Fowler and I got married (she went to school with us through our junior year, but she graduated from Carlmont H.S. in Belmont). In Feb. of '66, I left the shipyard to begin a union sheetmetal workers apprenticeship. Shortly after that, I received my draft notice and went into the Army in May of 1966. I went to basic training at Ft Ord near Monterey and then was sent to Ft. Belvoir, Virginia to be part of a Port Construction Company that was forming to go overseas. Although I didn't know it at the time, this was probably the beginning of my lust for travel (remember, I didn't volunteer to do this). My time at Ft. Belvoir was interesting because it is very close to Washington, D.C. and there was a lot to see and do. In Jan. Uncle Sam sent me on a year-long paid vacation to a tropical paradise named Viet Nam. We worked, building bridges and piers with heavy equipment and we even got to go water-skiing on the Saigon River on Christmas Day, behind an Army bridge boat. While in Viet Nam, I got to go to Bangkok, Thailand on a weeks leave and meet Kay, my wife, who was able to fly there cheaply because she worked for United Airlines. After Viet Nam, I spent four months at Ft. Sheridan, Ill. near Chicago were I got to see a little more of our country before I was discharged in May of 1968.
After the Army, I went back to the apprenticeship which I completed in 1972, and was then a journeyman sheetmetal worker in the heating and air conditioning field. In 1970 Kay and I bought our first home in Linda Mar on Manzanita Dr. From 1968 to 1975 I worked up and down the Peninsula and in the "City". We became close friends with some of our other classmates during this time, like Keith and Donna (Carlson) West, Will and Caren Frazee, Bob and Kathy (Griggs '66) Barber, Denise (Andre) and Casey Stewart, and others, who we did a lot of water skiing and camping with.
In Dec. 1972 Kay and I had our first daughter, Nicole Renee Harrison, after seven years of marriage, and then 22 months later we had our second daughter, Danielle Marie Harrison, in Oct. of 1974, and were we the proud parents (and still are!). Donna (Carlson) and Keith West were having their daughters (Dana and Kim) about the same time and we were spending a lot of time on water-skiing trips together and going up to Shasta Lake near Redding, Ca. a lot with them and also camping and fishing in the area with Will and Caren Frazee. Because we enjoyed the area so much we decided to buy a home in Redding and move from Pacifica. We moved on June 14th, 1975, Kay's birthday, and all of our friends who followed us up to help us move knew we were crazy because it was 114 degrees the day they helped us unload the truck.
Our friends Donna and Keith West also moved to Redding about 6 months after us, but returned back to the Bay Area some years later.
I worked for a few different companies and then I went to work for a local company and ended up running the Air Conditioning Department. The owner of the company died five years later and two years after that in 1982 I purchased the fabricating equipment and started a company with a minor partner. Two years later, in 1985, I decided that I wanted to be the sole owner so I dissolved the partnership and started my current company, Timberline Heating & Air Conditioning Incorporated. I started with four of us and now we are sometimes up to 30 employees, depending on the workload, fourteen trucks, and approximately 5.5 million in sales. Although we are still a small company, we are considered one of the largest mechanical contracting firms in the Redding area and as you can probably tell I'm proud of that. I guess that my experience as president of my sixth grade class at Pedro Valley Elementary School prepared me well for being president of a small (tiny?) corporation.
Unfortunately, by 1984 it seemed that Kay and I had grown apart and we separated, probably because of all the time I was putting into the business, and our divorce was final in 1986. She has remarried and is still in the area and the girls see her often.
During my short stint as a single person I met a lady here in Redding named Susan, who had never had any children, who some of you have met at the past reunions. I asked Susan to marry me in 1986 and we decided to have our wedding on May 10th and shortly after that my two daughters, Nikki, and Dani, by now ages 9 & 11, announced that they wanted to live with me full time. As you can imagine, I was elated, and Susan probably went into shock. By then she probably felt it was too late to back out. Although there were some very stressful times trying to agree on how to raise the girls (I was too easy and she was too strict of course) they both turned out to be wonderful young women who I'm very proud of and who are my best friends. Nikki the oldest is 35, married to a wonderful man named Christian Burke and the two of them have two daughters named Bailey Shea Burke, and Reese Annabelle Burke, and they live in Chico, CA.. Nikki graduated from the University of Colorado, Denver, with a B.S. in Dental Hygiene and Christian graduated with a degree in Graphic Art and Business and works for a local bank in their advertising department. Dani, my youngest, is 33, and is married to Justin Portz, a very nice young man (and a great golfer) who is a career Officer in the U.S. Navy, and stationed at the Lemoore Naval Air Station. They have two sons, Carson Davis Portz, and Cole Thomas Portz and they are about three years apart. Dani is a bookkeeper for a school district in the area. We are very close, even though we had our moments in high school and we probably talk to each other at least five days a week.
Unfortunately in 2007 I went through another divorce, but I consider it an opportunity for improved happiness for both Susan and me. I have purchased another home here in Redding, CA. and am enjoying life as a single person. Now we will see how that works out. So far, so good!
Now, for some of the things that I have enjoyed doing or do enjoy doing now. Hunting, Fishing, Boating, Camping, Water-skiing, Snow-skiing, Golf, Private Pilot (no longer), Sky Diving (once-two years ago), Vacationing and Traveling as much as possible. Most currently I seem to enjoy some golf, hunting and fly fishing once or twice a year, and snow skiing about two weeks each season. Snow skiing seems to be MY getaway. Each year about the second week of Jan. I take a week and go to either Sun Valley, Idaho or Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, sometimes with a mixed group of singles or couples. My schedule is pretty strenuous. I get up about 8AM, go to breakfast about 9AM, get to the slopes about 10AM-10:30AM, ski until 1PM. meet for lunch on the mountain at 1PM and about 2PM head down the mountain and head for the Jacuzzi, and a libation, then get ready to go out to dinner. If anyone needs a getaway in Jan. give me a call, the more the merrier!
As I said earlier one of my great loves is traveling. I've been to, Mexico (at least once a year), Canada, Hawaii (many times), Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Panama, Tahiti, Viet Nam, Thailand, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, England, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, The U.S.S.R (in 1990) and Russia (in 1993, sometime after the coup).
Being in business all of these years, I have gotten pretty involved in our community and in industry related associations. I've been on different boards as a director or president, such as the Shasta Builders Exchange, the American Subcontractors Association, the Redding Chamber of Commerce, and the Redding East Rotary Club which is an international service organization of business people and quite interesting to have been a part of these past 25 years.
In 1990, through our Rotary club, I got the chance to volunteer to be one of four chaperones for twelve students on a three week student exchange to the U.S.S.R. We made all the arrangements via fax messages (e-mail wasn't around yet!). We flew from S.F. to New York to Moscow and were met by people we had never seen. What an adventure at the time! With these new acquaintances we spent about twelve hours looking around Moscow before they put us on an Aeroflot plane for a four hour flight to middle southern Siberia and the third largest city in the U.S.S.R., Novosibirsk, a city of 1.4 million people. This is a city were the Russians moved a lot of their industry during the war to protect it. They also created a think tank, now university, called Akademgoradok (sp?). They put us up in a new hospital that had just been finished by a Finnish company, for three days, while they showed us their city. They did this because they live in flats and didn't have room for us in their homes. After Novosibirsk, we boarded the Trans-Siberian Railway along with a group of Russian children and adult chaperones for a 36 hour ride to the city of Irkutsk, where we spent the next two weeks in an area that was used by communist dignitaries for vacationing. This place was on the shores of the Angara River that is the outlet for Lake Baikal, the largest body of fresh water in the world, in volume. By now we were a group of approximately 70 people. Everywhere we went we were celebrities. We visited different places nearly every day and people wanted to see the "Americans". We were on the radio and in many newspapers and everyone seemed to be amazed by our "happy" children as we walked down the streets singing and skipping at times. The next summer the Russians came to our homes for their part of the exchange and we showed them everything from our homes to San Francisco to Disneyland. The next summer we sent another group to Russia, in the Altai Mountains. My wife went as a chaperone and I stayed home. The following summer we hosted again. While all of this was going on I became friends with the Russian man, Nicolai, who helped me organize these exchanges and I told him that we should do an adult exchange and he agreed so Susan and I took 14, very bright adults (?), to what was by now Russia, (instead of the U.S.S.R.) in March of 1993 (Brrrrrr)! In July, 1993, we hosted a group of adults here in our country.
I could go on for a long time talking about all the interesting experiences we had during these exchanges (or have I already?). For me, all of this started an interest in learning about other cultures and I got involved in our Rotary Youth Exchange Program. I've been involved in Youth Exchange for the past 18 years. As a Rotary Youth Exchange counselor, I help our local high school students go abroad for a year and we take in a foreign student for a year. My job is to be their friend and to find them 3 to 4 host families while they are here. After that I became the Rotary Youth Exchange District Chairman for two years, and then the chairman for seven districts for the next three years. To me this is a hobby and I find it very rewarding. I now have young friends all over the world and I keep in touch with many of them on a regular basis. I get to know 20 to 25 foreign students each year so I figure that I someday can go around the world staying at their homes. I have gone to weddings in Europe and stayed with many of these students and their families.
I guess if you asked what my life's philosophy was, I would have to say it's been "Don't Wait!" I think that too many times people put off doing something that might be within reach, and before we know it, it is too late or the opportunity is gone, or we're too old, or our interests have changed. Of course, all of this has to be within reason and not at the sacrifice of everything else. I would have loved that society that would allow us to be "retired" the first twenty years after school and then have us go to work. I'm looking forward to the next 43 years! I'm sure they will be as interesting as the last 43!
SUBSEQUENT MESSAGES: See 2010 reunion questionnaire response.
See 2015 reunion questionnaire response.
Check out Ed's favorite cars in the Events-2015 Reunion car
stories and pix.