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Peter N.

May 15, 1942 – August 27, 2019

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Peter Harrison
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Obituary for Peter N. Harrison

On Tuesday morning, August 27, 2019, Peter Nelson Harrison, devoted husband and father of four, and a beloved attorney in the Doylestown community, passed away at the age of 77.

Peter was born in Orange, New Jersey in 1942 and was the eldest of the three children of the late C. Nelson Harrison and Marguerite Harrison (née Bush). The Harrison family lived in NJ and Berwyn, PA before moving in 1950 to Doylestown in Bucks County, which Peter would call home for most of his life.

Peter had many fond memories of growing up in Doylestown. At a young age he excelled in sports, especially swimming, winning Fanny Chapman’s Mercer Award –“1954 Midget Boy Aquatic Champion.” Peter joined the Boy Scouts in 1953 and earned his Eagle in a record two years at the age of 13. At 16 he saved enough funds to attend the Jamboree at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. He caddied at a young age at the local golf club, which inspired a love of golf later in life. He worked summers as a teen for the local Histand Roofing Co., carrying slate up ladders to the roofers! He recalled to his children how these experiences taught him a strong work ethic that he applied throughout his life.

Peter graduated from Central Bucks High School in 1960 where he ran track and was voted “best looking” in his senior class. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1964 from Lafayette College. He was a Dean’s List student and a member of the Varsity Swimming and Lacrosse teams and the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

Peter graduated from Dickinson School of Law 1967 J.D.. With great enthusiasm he served as President of the Student Bar Association, which established the law school’s Legislative Research Bureau to assist the PA General Assembly, and the Judicial Research Committee to assist Common Pleas Judges in smaller counties. After graduation and admission to the PA Bar, he worked in Harrisburg as Asst. Counsel for the PA General Authority under Solicitor Fairfax Leary and Executive Director Robert Kunzig, working on the construction and furnishing of the then new governor’s mansion for Governor Raymond Shafer. He found it to be a fascinating year where he learned a lot, but worked nights bartending to supplement his pay!

Despite being classified with a medical deferment for military service due to an injury, Peter chose to serve his country and was a U.S. Army Captain assigned as a legal officer in Ft. Benning, Georgia. Honorably discharged, Peter opened his own law practice in Doylestown in ’71.

Active in many community groups, Peter served as past President of CB Kiwanas and as a past Board member of the CB YMCA. He was elected to the Doylestown Borough Council and elected countywide to the 1985 Bucks Co. Gov’t. Study Commission. He served as a Solicitor for many municipalities over the years. He was a member of the Doylestown Masonic Lodge, and a golf member of the Doylestown Country Club.

Peter was well respected in his profession by his colleagues and members of the bench. He was always well prepared, thorough, and had a great courtroom presence. Active for decades in the PA and County bar associations, he served as a Zone 9 Delegate to the PA Bar Association House of Delegates. An active member of BCBA Orphan’s Court Section, he was also an emeritus member of the respected invitational Bucks County Inns of Court. Peter was very instrumental in the advancement of the LCL Committee (Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers) and dedicated to the mission of the LCL. He loved the law, distinguished himself as a “handshake matters” lawyer, and was always thought of as the consummate gentleman. Peter always worked hard and helped so many, many people.

Peter deeply loved his wife, Deborah and they recently celebrated their 35th anniversary. As a husband and the proud father of four children, he was the ultimate provider for his family; protective and supportive of his wife and encouraging his children to succeed at every turn; he often beamed with pride over their accomplishments.

A gentle soul, Peter is remembered for his kindness, generosity and magnanimity. He was sensitive and caring towards his family, friends, colleagues and clients. He had a deep sense of empathy for those less fortunate than he. Peter was also known for his intelligence, and carried with him an air of decorum at all times. He could be charmingly ceremonious in conversation, and the cordiality and refinement he brought to the everyday made people feel special.

To that same end, he was known as a sharp dresser. He adhered to a meticulous sense of style, with a penchant for unique bowties, ascots and Borsalino hats. It should come as no surprise that Peter knew every word to the musical ‘My Fair Lady’. He had a witty, dry sense of humor, yet was a master of belting out silly songs like the Mac Davis tune “It’s Hard to Be Humble”, and he loved the music of Neil Diamond and Phil Coulter.

In younger adult years Peter enjoyed fishing and hunting, traveled often, and had a private pilot license. Living north of Doylestown for a several years he dabbled in farming, tilling the fields. In later years, he still liked to try new things, taking up yoga and trumpet lessons.

Peter was a history buff who devoured historical non-fiction books and enjoyed researching his family heritage dating back to the 9th U.S. President. Peter also found great strength and solace in his faith and his belief in Christ our Lord. He was a member of the Covenant Church.

Peter was resilient in the face of illness and fought a good fight. He is profoundly missed and will be loved forever.

Peter was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Janet. He is survived by his wife Deborah (née McIlhinney), his daughters Marguerite (Blair Westbrook) , D. Ashlee and Pier, and son Andrew (Tina) Harrison, his grandsons Alex, Zachary, and Benjamin, his brother David (Darri), and his nieces and nephews.

Viewing will be held on Tues., Sept. 3rd, 5pm-8pm at Shelly Funeral Home at 1460 Easton Road (Rt. 611) in Warrington, PA 18976. The funeral will be held on Weds., Sept. 4th at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 235 E. State St. Doylestown, PA, 18901 with a viewing at 10 a.m. and funeral service at 11 a.m., officiated by the Rev. Robert Meyers. Interment will follow at the Doylestown Cemetery on E. Court Street, In lieu of flowers, donations in honor of Peter may be made to the Covenant Church, 4000 Rt. 202, Doylestown, Pa. 18902.

First Visitation

When Tuesday September 3, 2019 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Shelly Funeral Home, Warrington
1460 Easton Road
Warrington, PA 18976

Second Visitation

When Wednesday September 4, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
235 E. State St.
Doylestown, PA 18901

Service Information

Wednesday September 4, 2019 11:00am
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
235 E. State St.
Doylestown, PA 18901

Interment Information

Doylestown Cemetery
E. Court Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
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