Don Harker

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Don Harker
Don Harker
Date of Birth:
May 09, 1947
Date of Death:
February 25, 2016
Bend, Oregon, United States


Donald Francis Harker, Jr.

Donald Francis Harker, Jr., 68, of Bend, Oregon, passed away on February 25, 2016 from a sudden and unexpected heart attack. After a Navajo prayer about walking in beauty and surrounded by his children, grandchildren, and fiancé, Sherrie Arsenault, he peacefully left this world.A celebration of life service will be held at 4:00 pm on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at Central Oregon Environmental Center at 16 NW Kansas Avenue in Bend, Oregon. A second celebration of life will be held at a future date near his childhood home in Clarksville, Tennessee.


Don was born in Glendale, California, on May 9, 1947. He graduated from Clarksville High School and continued on to receive a B.S. in Biology from Austin Peay State University and his M.S. in Biology from the University of Notre Dame. He was a veteran who served in the U.S. Navy. Don had a life long passion for environmental stewardship and sustainable economic development, and held multiple leadership positions in state government and in the nonprofit sector. He was Founding Director of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Director of the Division of Water and Division of Waste Management in Kentucky, founded the Kentucky Local Governance Project and served as Executive Director of the Mountain Association for Community and Economic Development (MACED) in Berea, Kentucky. Most recently, he served as a consultant to several nonprofit organizations in the Portland, Bend and Wallowa County areas and was an Assistant Professor at Pacific Northwest College of Art focusing on social entrepreneurship and solutions to complex or ‘wicked’ problems. Additionally, he had professional forays into ranch management with the famed wildlife artist Ray Harm in Tucson, Arizona, and as an owner-operator of a farm in Butler County, Kentucky. He was also a published author and writer of non-fiction and fiction. He was known for his passion and commitment to bringing out the best in others, bringing purpose to people’s work by making institutions really stand for the things they were created to do, and for being a warrior grounded in love for the natural world and the Earth.


Don is survived by his fiancé, Sherrie Arsenault, his former wife and mother of his two children, Kay Silvey Harker, his children Heather (Jackie) Harker and Hayden (Stephanie) Harker and grandchildren Nathan Harker Woodside and Isabella and Auden Harker. Additionally, he is survived by Sherrie’s children Cari (Steve) Charlton and Kim (Derek) Ralls and grandchildren Jackson and Cohen Charlton and Harlan and Paige Ralls. He is survived by his sisters Mary (Jeff) Rhoads and Nancy (Jim) Wrenn, sister-in-law Myranel (Mike) Hinton Harker Bryant and multiple beloved nieces and nephews.


Don is preceded in death by his mother Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Gates Gordon Harker and his father Donald Francis Harker, Sr., and his brother James ‘Jim’ Gordon Harker.


In lieu of flowers and in recognition of his lifelong love of birding, donations may be made to: East Cascades Audubon Society P.O. Box 565 Bend, OR 97709 for the Don Harker Memorial as a first preference, or online to the Friends of the Malheur Refuge at





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