Our hearts ache in sadness as we announce the passing of Gilbert “Jay” Harris, 89, on Sept. 30, 2021, in the home of his daughter in Cody, surrounded by family.
Jay was born on May 21, 1932, in El Cajon, Calif., the oldest son of Gilbert and Gladys Harris. He grew up in the El Cajon Valley and attended Grossmont High School where he excelled in baseball, football and met the love of his life “Ida.”
After graduating he joined the United States Marine Corp. Where he earned distinguished rifleman and continued to play baseball on the Marine Corp team. In August 1951, he married Ida and their adventure began. They had four children, tragically losing one at an early age to leukemia.
Upon leaving the Marine Corp. he attended Oregon State University then later moving to Susanville, Calif., where they owned a family grocery store. While living in Susanville, he became a police officer and then a game warden which moved them to Lake Isabella and Palm Springs where he retired as a lieutenant in 1981.
While traveling, he fell in love with Cody and the Wapiti Valley and moved here in 1982 where he and Ida built their home and remained there until their death.
Throughout his life he was an avid hunter and rifleman, giving him the nickname as “Ironsights.” During his lifetime he broke and set hundreds of records with the NRA, and in 1961, as a civilian, he achieved the highest award in the National Matches, at Camp Perry, and again in 1973, with the Palma Team traveling to Africa.
He loved the outdoors, and if he wasn’t riding his horses in the mountains, hunting or shooting, you would find him splitting logs or reading.
He is survived by his brother Bill Harris and sister-in-law Leah of Apple Valley, Calif., his three children Louise Sager (Dick) of Cody, Lynn Lowrey of Laramie, Larry Harris (Aline) of Durango, Colo.; grandchildren Richard Sager, Jennifer Jordan, Jay Sager, Becca Varian, Gilbert Lowrey (Courtney), Sara Meng (Nick), Lee Lowrey (McKensie), Ted Harris and Jaclyn Harris; 14 great-grandchildren, Justin, Kyle, Zach, Jarred, Chelsea, Matthew, Alora, Leiawna, Cassie, Nicholas, Gunnar, Braylei, Adalynne (Sunshine) and Titan and one great-great-grandson, Sloan.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Ida of 68 years and his son Lee.
He was a rare combination of someone who had a love of life and a firm understanding of what was important. His absence is a silent grief; his life a beautiful memory.
Cremation has taken place and a private family service is planned at a later date.
To leave condolences to the family please visit ballardfh.com.