It was on an early Monday morning while we were all preparing for our day when Harry Upton quietly slipped away. He had been ill for quite some time and had been under Hospice care for a while.
Harry’s wife, JoAnne Upton held a ‘Celebration of Life’ for Harry at the American Legion Post 86 on Saturday, February 24th. He is survived by his wife JoAnne; one son, Rob Upton; one daughter, Jessica Kannenburg, three grandchildren, Rylin and Chloe Kannenburg and Devon Upton and one brother, Ford Upton. He was predeceased by his son Ian Upton.
Harry served in the U.S. Air Force. He served his time in Germany in laboratory medicine which prepared him for his civilian career as a Rep for Gamma Corporation.
Harry’s brother, Ford, told us that Harry always said there are two kinds of music – Country and Western. It wasn’t only his preference, but he knew all the songs, the artists and the words; no one could beat him at trivia in this music genre. As we entered the room at Post 86 on this day his favorite tunes were comforting to hear as we gathered to celebrate his life. The room filled over with family, and friends from Canada, California and parts of Arizona. Harry and JoAnne have lived in Overgaard for 11 years and Harry truly loved living here. Harry and JoAnne spent a lot of recreational time off-roading through the forest in their bright yellow Can-Am sighting the wild horses and other wildlife.
Harry was a Canadian and spent many of his years playing hockey in Canada and Arizona. Many of his hockey friends from the valley came and spoke of his outstanding skill in the game and what a treasure it was to learn from him and how honored they were to play the game with him. He played hockey for 30 years of his life in Arizona alone. “He was a stellar hockey player,” longtime friend Ned Cooper mentioned in his eulogy.
Chaplain Stephen Hair guided the service, and Harry’s brother, Ford Upton, amused us with many stories of their childhood and highlights of his many accomplishments throughout his life.
There were many stories told this day about Harry’s life; some were funny, and some would make you smile knowing his quick wit. It all summed up to his big heart and his devotion to his friends, but most of all his love for his wife “Jo-Jo”.
He was that unforgettable character many of us were blessed to know. We will miss you Harry. Rest in Peace.
November 1, 1946 – January 29, 2018