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Joseph "Joe" Don Harris

June 4th, 1971 - November 1st, 2020

Gogora (adjective) Basque word meaning “to be resilient and to persevere with persistent determination.” This word defines the very essence of our husband, father, son, brother, and friend, Joe Harris. He passed away on November 1, 2020 after a long and courageous 21-year battle with ALS. Joseph Don Harris was born June 4, 1971 in Jerome, Idaho to Don Harris and Connie Urrutia (Stauts). He shared many hobbies with his Dad and was undoubtedly a mama’s boy. Joe was the first-born son and the most incredible big brother to Michael and Keri. Don and Connie remarried and gave Joe four more siblings that he adored; Justin Burdick and Shawn, Bryan, and Jennifer Harris. He took his job as big brother very serious by relentless teasing, fierce protection, and always giving words of wisdom and advice when needed. Joe was athletic, excelling in any sport he put his mind to. Be it football, baseball, skiing, or fighting (ha!). He earned his nickname “Smokin’ Joe” because though he was small, he was mighty! He was “fast” and skilled at everything he did. He often earned the award for most inspirational player, which was a character trait he was known for throughout his life. Joe was a loyal “fan.” His commitment to his favorite teams the Cowboys, Mariners, and Lakers was steadfast and unwavering. After high school, Joe worked for the Shoshone BLM during the summer months. As a natural leader from a young age, Joe became an assistant crew leader and positively impacted the lives of many young men. He made many lifelong friends at the BLM and will be affectionately remembered for his ornery antics and enthusiastic leadership. Joe graduated from Boise State University with a degree in Exercise Science. This is where he met the love of his life, Jill Cornwell. They turned a college crush into a life of commitment and unconditional love. Joe was a diehard Boise State Fan, bleeding blue and never missing a home football game where he was a season ticket holder. Joe and Jill were determined and focused on their shared goal of becoming Physical Therapists. They both attended Idaho State University where they graduated and began their careers in Pocatello, Idaho. They were married and shortly after graduating, they welcomed their most treasured gift to the world, Katie Marie Harris. Joe was an adventure seeker at his core. As a child and young man he built his life around experiencing the joys of the outdoors and sports. Joe was a true sportsman. He was a master storyteller and could spend hours sharing endless stories about deer, elk, and bird hunting with his Dad, Brothers, Grandfathers (OJ Harris and Johnny Urrutia), and his good friends over the years. He knew every Idaho mountain range and fishing hole- from Clear Creek to Henry’s Lake…..and although he was known as “Eagle Eye Harris,” he never did see the Big Blue Buck from Castlerock. Joe found solace in the outdoors. He shared this love with many friends and family members. He was a teacher to many and it brought him joy to see others experience the sanctuary of nature and experience the sport of hunting and fishing. We were all blessed to learn many valuable lessons from Joe during his 49 years, he had a brilliant mind and a wise heart. Among our favorites: “Hard things only make us stronger”, “If you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life”, “Don’t stand in judgement of others but kneel in judgement of yourself”, and “Teach your children Gogora.” Joe is preceded in death by his father and step-mother, Don and Nancy Harris; brother, Shawn Harris, and many of his grandparents. Joe leaves behind his beloved wife, Jill and their daughter, Katie; mother, Connie (Frank) Stauts; step-father, Doug Burdick; brother, Michael (Clint) Keithley; sister, Keri (Jim) Noll; brother, Justin (Tina) Burdick; brother, Bryan (Krista) Harris; sister, Jennifer (Joe) Navas; grandfather, Jim (Beverly) Gray; father-in-law, Mark (LaVelle) Cornwell; mother-in-law, Maxine Cornwell, and brothers-in law: Todd (Beth) Cornwell and Scott Cornwell; 16 nieces and nephews that he loved dearly, and many more family and friends that he cherished which are too numerous to name. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 AM at Holy Apostles Catholic Church, 6300 N. Meridian Rd. in Meridian on Thursday, November 5th. For those unable to attend in person, please join the family virtually at https://www.facebook.com/holyapostles.church/ This day we will bury his body and mind, but his spirit will live on in the hearts of those he loved most. His dreams and his example of humanity will be remembered by those who ever knew him or who were touched by his unsolicited acts of kindness. Let us honor Joe’s legacy by living a life of adventure and Gogora. Live life to the fullest by demonstrating grit and determination, give to those less fortunate than you, find the good in all situations, but most of all live life well for tomorrow isn’t promised. In lieu of flowers, Joe requests that you donate to your favorite charity or to the local food bank. Remembrances may be left for Joe’s family on his webpage at www.AccentFuneral.com. Services are under the care of Accent Funeral Home and Cremation, Meridian.

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Tributes

Share a favorite memory, send condolences, and honor Joseph’s life with a heartfelt message.

Dianne Henley

🕯️ What a wonderful young man. Blessed

Published March 30th, 2024
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Mary Thomsen

Connie, Frank and family, may Joe Rest In Peace. I am sorry for your loss but hope you find peace from all you shared in the time you had him here. You are all in my prayers. With love, Mary Thomsen

Published March 30th, 2024
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Pete and Judy Albertson

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. - Pete and Judy Anderson

Published March 30th, 2024
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Paula Tillquist

Our deepest sympathy to the Harris family. We have been friends with Don and Nancy for over 35 years. It was a pleasure to watch the children grow up. From the parents to the siblings, this is a family that embodies the meaning of family. You have all been through so much recently. Our hearts go out to you all. Paula and Bob Tillquist

Published March 30th, 2024
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Kim Owens

Joe was part of the reason I made it through P.T. school! His friendship, humor, and intelligence were such a comfort and help during stressful times. His perseverance through these years with his diagnosis has been an inspiration, as is Jill’s love and support. He holds a special place in my heart as a classmate, therapist and friend. My deepest condolences to Jill and family. You are all amazing and have lost an amazing person. My love and prayers are sent your way. Kim (Bowman) Owens

Published March 30th, 2024
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Jan

My brother passed away at 45 years old after a very short, virulent case of ALS. Sending condolences to Joe’s family, even though I know none of you. Sharing the memories of Anyone who’s ever had to deal with loss from that horrible disease. Peace be with you.

Published March 30th, 2024
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Bob and Jo Libengood

We offer our prayers and sincere condolence for your lost. We ask for God's blessings on the family. May you find the courage and strength to move forward in peace and to know that Joe's life was well lived. Yours in peace, Bob and Jo Libengood

Published March 30th, 2024
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Jennifer

Joe was my big brother, he was a hero in my eyes. Who was always there for his family and friends. He had such a giving heart and always provided for those who were in need. He loved his wife Jill and daughter Katie. He fought a long battle and was the true meaning of gogora! May he always be remembered for his kind and strong spirit. Rest In Peace beloved brother, father, husband and son. Love you Jill and Katie. Love, Jennifer Navas

Published March 30th, 2024
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Steve Klitgaard

Joe was such an awesome individual and an inspiration to many. Joe was such a caring person that his patients adored! I always enjoyed being in his presence. Joe was a funny guy. I have always admired him over the years for his fight for life and knowing his love wife and daughter. Joe will be missed by many!!!!

Published March 30th, 2024
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