The Honorable Judge David Harbour – 1939-2020

We lost a treasure Thursday, November 19th. David Harbour passed away in Scottsdale. He hasn’t left us; he’ll carry us through good times and difficult times with the memory of his irrepressible determination fronted with his disarming, yet highly contagious smile. David played golf in our group for many years. Everyone that met him fell in love with him. He was a friend to all. He enriched the life of each and every person he met.

Born in September of 1939 in Duncan, Oklahoma, David was an outstanding athlete and an outstanding student. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma and went on to a successful law career. He later became a judge in Oklahoma even serving as Judge pro tempore on the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

He was a fine artist with oils and water-colors. He was an avid patron of the performing arts. My wife, Liz, and I spent many evenings at live music performances of different genres. He often asked us to join him at music venues that began after nine o’clock at night, but we’d usually decline because he was much younger than we were, even though he was quite a bit older. It seems no one told him to walk slower as the years went by.

David was always up for the challenge. He joined us for golf and oyster eating fests in Mexico. He didn’t hesitate for play golf with us at 7,500 feet in the mountains. When he made up his mind he was going to do something, you’d stand a better chance of staring down a rodeo bull than trying to get in David’s way.

His smile was magic. His heart was huge. His mind was as sharp as a razor’s edge. His embrace was open to all. David Harbour was a hero and a friend to all of us. His strength of character was never more evident than when he suffered the devastating loss of his beloved wife, Janet in 2013. He was kind, caring, thoughtful, and loving. It’s also noteworthy that David made the best rum-cake known to mankind.

At the risk of going too far, I’m going to suggest that you watch the animated film “Coco”. Few Americans have a good understanding of the Mexican holiday el “Dia de Muertos”. “Coco” is a movie about that holiday. It is delightful and educational. Frankly, it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. If I can summarize the message from “Coco” and el Dia de Muertos, it is this: Those that have gone before us attain immortality as long as we the living remember them.

David Harbour will live on for many generations through our actions and memories of his kindness, his work ethic, his love for his fellow man. Over the years, I have passed some of the lessons I’ve learned from David’s example on to my children and my friends. They have passed them on to their families and friends. “The Judge” will live on for generations to come.