It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of Richard Wayne Harrison. He died at home after a brief illness with loved ones by his side.
Many people know of Wayne through his work as an environmental scientist at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, where he worked for over 35 years. He was one of the founders of the California State Park’s prescribed burn program, and was instrumental in creating a robust fire program at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. He was passionate about using fire in the landscape to bring health to the forest and protect the Big Trees. His leadership and mentoring have guided many to careers in this profession.
Friends and family have been touched by Wayne’s inquiring mind, unpretentious nature and generosity of spirit. He was a thoughtful and kind mentor, teacher and friend. His endless curiosity and interests led him to explore history, food, music and geology through time spent with friends and traveling. He was a caring father, son and husband who was especially delighted to be a father to a daughter who shares so many of his interests.
Wayne is survived by his wife, Wendy, daughter, Kate, and many extended family members. A scholarship program is being created in Wayne’s honor through the Association for Fire Ecology.
A celebration of Wayne’s life is planned for Saturday, July 27, at 2 p.m. at Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Jack Knight Hall.