Peter L. Harris 63, of Lyons St. Ludlow died peacefully in the care and comfort of his home, surrounded by his loving family on Friday April 1 after a valiant three year battle with Glioblastoma. Special thanks for excellent care given by Dr. Wilson Mertens and Hospice Nurse Margaret. Born in Ludlow, MA June 12, 1947 he was a lifelong resident, educated in local schools, and a graduate of Ludlow High School and Springfield Technical Community College. He proudly served his country during the Vietnam Era, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant in the Army of the Unites States. Decorated for his service he received the Bronze Star, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge 1St Award, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with Device, Expert Badge & Rifle Bar, and the Sharpshooter Badge and Rifle Bar. He was Assistant Chief Engineer at ABC 40 WGGB TV for 40 years. Pete especially loved being in charge of maintenance for the TV transmitter facility atop of Holyoke’s Mount Tom. Special thanks go to John Gormally, owner of TV 40 for being such a compassionate person. The family has been deeply touched by all you have done for Pete. A long time member of the First Church in Ludlow, so many church and community folks have helped and offered their love and support. Pete was happiest when he was farming. He raised his first sheep at the age of 9 belonging to Tom & Elsie Hiersche’s 4-H Sheep Club. In their sheep club he met his future wife Judy. Married in 1970 they shared 41 years together, and built a sheep farm of prize winning Shropshire, Tunis and Cheviot Sheep. He was active in New England and national sheep organizations, served as president and on the executive board of many, including the National Tunis Sheep Association, Northeast Tunis Association, Northeast Shropshire Association, the Pioneer Valley Shepherds, and was the current leader of the Pioneer Valley Young Shepherd’s. Pete won many top honors at major fairs, the Big E, the National Sheep Exposition in Louisville, KY and many fairs throughout New England, New York, Illinois and Ohio. He has passed his passion for raising and showing sheep to his grandsons. He was also an accomplished sheep shearer, and in his prime sheared over 1000 sheep in a year. Part of farming is haying, a task Pete loved and shared with his best friend and shadow for 14 years, his special grandson Dillon Harris. Following in Gramp’s footsteps, Dillon was able to do all the haying these past few summers as his illness progressed with help from his Dad, Tim. Dillon also took over the daily sheep farm chores when Gramp was getting tired. Dillon is now raising his Gramp’s cherished Shropshire sheep. Special thanks to brother in-law Marco, he came to the farm every night for three years to help Dillon feed and tend to the flock. Whatever the weather, Marco was there; Peter knew his flock was in good care and that was a comfort. When they could, Marco and Dillon brought Gramp out to watch as the farm chores were done. Before Marco left each night he would come into the house and say “You’re all set Pete.” Cousins Tom Haluch and Cal Chunglo were also their when needed, making sure things were done the way Pete would do them. He is survived by his loving family, his wife Judy (Hiersche) Harris, son Jeff Harris and his wife Cyndi of Palmer, daughter Amy Priest and her husband Tim of Ludlow, his caring mother in law Elsie Hiersche, who has been by his side since he was 9, 6 grandsons to cherish his memory, Dillon Harris, Tyler, Connor, his name sake little Peter Priest, Kyle Harris and Cody Ward. They all loved to farm with Gramp. His wonderful sister in-laws and their families Janet and George Hartley, Nancy and Jeremy Kavka, Susan and Eric Vinton, Peggy Kovitch, and Bonnie and Marco Louvitakis. Also survived by aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews and extended family members and friends.
Independently Owned and Operated Kapinos-Mazur Funeral Home and Cremation With Confidence by Kapinos-Mazur “Care For The Community Since 1932”
Funeral services celebrating his life will be Wednesday April 6 at 11 AM at the First Church in Ludlow 859 Center St. Rt. 21, Ludlow. Rites of Committal with Military Honors will follow at Island Pond Cemetery.