David Harrison - Adaptive Athlete & Mentor 1952 - 2018 Print E-mail
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At the young age of sixteen David Harrison learned that in adversity lies opportunity. He suffered a spinal-cord injury while sledding on a toboggan in a Quincy golf course. He never let the limitation or confinement to his wheelchair define him. In fact . . . he excelled and seized every activity and opportunity available.

David died at home on Friday, January 12, 2018. after an illness. He was 65.

Born on September 30, 1952 in Arlington he was a son of the late Donald M. and Mary (Silva) Harrison. A lifelong Cambridge resident he graduated from Massachusetts Hospital School in Canton. With a firsthand knowledge he worked as a certified orthotist and prosthetist for the Department of Veterans Affairs spinal cord center in West Roxbury. He would fabricate and fit patients with orthotics that eventually made artificial limbs. Dave enjoyed retirement after 36 years in 2011. He married Gloria Cartagena at the Paine Estate in Waltham on October 16, 1982.

Dave was active in sports all his life. Prior to his accident he played baseball in the Babe Ruth league in East Cambridge, ran cross country, track and played JV basketball at Latin. He was involved in the New England Paralyzed Veterans Association's Blazer and was selected as guard for the USA Paralympics basketball team in 1976 in Toronto in which they won the gold medal and was inducted to the New England Conference Hall of Fame. When receiving this award, Armand 'Tip' Thiboutot said 'he is as close to what I would describe as a mistake-free player as anyone I ever coached…a fine defensive player with excellent speed and quickness in relation to other players.'

He represented and participated in the 32nd National Wheelchair Championship's rower in the amateur division in a single-pontoon rigged racing shell. He played tennis for over 25 years, both here in Massachusetts and at their home in Citrus Springs, Florida. He looked forward to the annual pilgrimage to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York for the Jana Hunsaker Memorial. He rode in countless 5 and 10k road races and Boston's half-marathon

Throughout his life he remained positive despite his injuries and remained mindful of the many blessings he had throughout his life.

In addition to his parents he is predeceased by his brother Donald M. Harrison Jr. and sister, Joyce Sanchez.

In addition to his wife of 35 years, Gloria Cartagena Harrison, he leaves his brothers, Michael Harrison and his wife, Jerry of Topsfield and Douglas Harrison and his wife, Sheila of Tewksbury; his father-in-law, Camilo Cartagena of Citrus Springs, Florida; his sisters-in-law, Carmelin Gosselin and her husband, Steve of Citrus Springs, Florida and Linda Harrison of Ocala, Florida; also survived by many nieces & nephews.

Family and friends will honor and remember David's life by gathering for a calling hour on Saturday, January 20th from 12 – 1 pm in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham. His Celebration of Life will follow at 1 p.m. in the funeral home. Burial is private.

In lieu of flowers memorials in his name may be made to Don Harrison Foundation, 2300 SE 17th Street, Suite 200, Ocala, Florida 34471 (www.donharrisonfoundation.org)or Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284-9168 (www.dana-farber.org).

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 January 2018 01:59