James Thurman Harrington Sr., age 94 of Economy passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Wednesday, January 15.
Jim, otherwise known as Pap, was born October 1, 1925 in New Freeport, Greene Country PA to the late Benjamin and Rachel (McNealy) Harrington. Preceding his mother’s death, he lived with his sister Ruth and brother-in-law, Archie until drafted at 18years old into the United States Army to serve his country in World War II. His tour of duty started on the Queen Elizabeth departing from New York, on August 6, 1944 and docked in Greenock, Scotland on August 12, 1944. He joined Company K 302nd Regiment 94th Infantry. On September 3, 1944 he crossed the English Channel where his 1st Combat Command Post formed, and shortly after was part of D-Day in Normandy. He fought alongside his brothers in arms in Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, Central Europe, GO 33 & WD 45, Lorient, St. Nazaire and Czechoslovakia. On his 19th birthday he earned a Bronze Star for his acts of bravery in France on the way to Nennig, a village in Saarland, Germany. Jim returned to the United States on the USS George Washington on February 21, 1946. He continued his service with the United States Air Force at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport for three years. His decorations and citations include: Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduct Medal, EAME Service Medal with Four Bronze Stars, Victory Medal, Efficiency Honor Fidelity, American Campaign, European African Middle Eastern Campaign, World War II and Battle of the Bulge.
If you knew Jim you knew he was as storyteller. One, and most likely his favorite to tell involved his buddy Levondosky, who was his brother in arms during his tour of duty, serving as arepeat character in stories told. This story took place in Germanywhen his battalion went in to rescue fellow soldiers from enemy fire. After the successful mission they looked to find shelter to rest. As they placed their backs back to back to get some shut eye, their commander shouted their names to come back up. His buddy quickly replied, “Isn’t there anyone else in this company other than Harrington and Levondosky!?”. This was just one of the many that left you memorized. His stories were timeless, andthey will remain part of his legacy as a glance into his life that some could not imagine and the heroic actions that made him a great American hero.
After bravely serving his country, little did Jim know someone he served alongside and rescued from enemy fire would become his brother-in-law three years later. In 1947, he married the love of his life Melva Cato and were married for 50 years. They were soulmates, best friends that told a true love story mixed in with countless comical memories that included their dog Sadie and neighborhood gatherings at their pool.
Following his military service, he worked as a steel fabricator for Williams & Company in the North Side of Pittsburgh. Even after he retired, his work ethic never stopped. He partnered with his wife to paint and landscape with Superior Drywall, helped get his grandchildren off and on the bus from school and met with his buddies for coffee every morning. Over the years his passion for honoring his country continued throughout his life participating in the Beaver County Special Unit for 15 yearsproudly attending over 2,500 funerals for his fellow veteranbrothers and sisters. He was also a member of the Cranberry VFW, Ohio Valley Chapter of Battle Of the Bulge and Economy Borough Veterans Memorial.
Jim spent the remaining 19 years of his life residing with his daughter and put his heart into everything he did whether that be baking innovative creations, taking care of everyone’s lawns, going down to the family farm or his dedicated people watching. The one thing no one can deny was his captivating spirit and “just something about him” that left an everlasting impression in people’s hearts.
He joins in Heaven his wife, Melva (Cato), his oldest son, James Jr., brothers, Jack and Don and granddaughter, Valerie. He is survived by his son, Thomas and (Faye) Harrington, daughter,Darlene Harrington and David Yessel, daughter-in-law Joann (Delano) Harrington and sister in law, Eleanor Cato, grandchildren, Kimberly (Sean), Rachel (Andrew), Pamela, great-grandchildren, Scotty (Mikala), Forrest (Lexi), Brooke and Raquel, great -great- grandchildren, James Thurman, Andrew Thomas, another grandchild in July, Braxton, Archer and Sage. Jim also has numerous cousins and additional extended family including his dedicated caregiver for three years, Carol with Home Instead Senior Care.
Jim was part of so many lives and the family would like to thank everyone, including family pets, who made an impact on the incredible life Jim lived, and a special thank you to those who have served this country he loved so much. His unconditional love and affectious spirit captivated everyone who encountered him and because of that his legacy, stories and spirit will live on.
Friends will be received on Sunday, from 1:00 PM – time of funeral services at 5:00 PM in the John Skya Funeral Home, Inc 833 Kennedy Drive, Ambridge PA. Members of the Cranberry VFW Post 879 will perform a memorial service prior to the funeral service. Interment with full military honors will take place on Tuesday, January 21 at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies provided by the Beaver County Special Unit and the United States Army. Anyone who wishes to attend burial service are asked to meet to at the John Skya Funeral Home on Tuesday, January 21 at 1:15 PM and the procession will leave promptly at 1:30 PM.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to one of the organizations Jim remained loyal and passionate for: The Beaver Country Special Unit or Cranberry VFW. We hope you can help us pass it forward to those who have served our country. Please see how to donate and where to make checks payable to below.
Beaver Country Special Unit
Monaca Post 580
600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Monaca, PA 15061
Cranberry VFW Post 879
119 Zeigler Drive
Harmony PA, 16037
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral section.