Donald R. Harrill lovingly known as “Donnie” to all his family was without a doubt, the most mischievous of the three sons born to Roy and Mildred Nichols Harrill. Always an adventurer, ever exploring, through the streams of the Smokies, Tellico, or anywhere else he could drop a fishing line. He and brother Roy would take off on camping and fishing trips forever searching for that prize rainbow trout or largemouth bass. They were a team for 16 years before younger brother Doug was born. On that very morning they both went squirrel hunting while little brother was being born. Whether it was cub scouts, boy scouts, basketball, or football, Don was always the outdoorsman. After graduating from Everett High School class of 1966, the Vietnam war was really heating up. He and his high school sweetheart Laverne Chambers decided to get married before he would be drafted and off to the battlefield. Don made his decision that he wanted to join the Air Force. So, in 1968, a young scared 21-year-old was off to battle while Laverne remained at home and continued her education. She would join him several months later as they began their 21 plus years journey in the Air Force. That’s when Don discovered his fascination and love for airplanes, especially the F-4 Phanton jet which was his favorite. He worked learning everything he could about jet engines. His major concern was always for the pilot’s safety in the air while he fought on the ground. On many occasions the pilots wanted Don in the cockpit when they flew flight checks. Don could always fix or direct others on any engine or aircraft problem. Don was highly respected on the flight line wherever he might be. Before his retirement in 1989, he had attained the position of flight line supervisor over the Eglin AFB flight line. In April of 2019, Don was honored to be able to fly on Honor Air to Washington DC. This trip had a huge and lasting effect on his life. He was so touched and honored to roll past the Vietnam Wall and see the names of friends and brothers who had given their all. His emotions were forever changed after that experience. Don loved serving his country and was a faithful and devoted servant of God at Ridge View Baptist Church. Don, we will always love you and you will be forever in our hearts. There is a huge void left in our lives that only you could fill. But time cannot steal the treasures we hold in our hearts, nor dim the thoughts our cherished past imparts. Until we meet again. We love you. On January 27, 2022, Don would take his final flight. This time God sent an angel to escort him to his heavenly home. “To Be Absent From the Body is To Be Present With the Lord.” A very special thank you to Dr. Travis Groth and his entire staff at ETMG for the years you provided care and friendship. Special thanks to BM CCU Dr. Tan, Dr. Ongotti, and the gastroenterology department. There will be a celebration of life service for Don on Monday February 14th from 1 – 3 pm at Grandview Legacy Pavilion.
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