Ernest James Harrell

Published 9:15 pm Monday, April 27, 2015

Major General Ernest “Ernie” James Harrell, U.Ss Army (retired), 78, of Tucson, Ariz., passed away at home surrounded by his loved ones March 31, 2015. Ernie was born in Selma October 31, 1936, to the late William and Arrilla Harrell.

In 1960, he graduated from Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, and that September was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In 1972, he earned a master of science in engineering from Arizona State University. He later completed the National and International Security Management Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

He served in the U.S. Army for 35 honorable years, rising to the rank of major general. During his career he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, three Vietnam Service Medals, as well as numerous other service and campaign awards. In addition to serving in Vietnam, he was stationed in Thailand, Okinawa, South Korea, Germany and several states throughout the United States. His last assignment was as commanding general of the Army Corps’ North Pacific Division, based in Portland, Ore. In 1998, he was hired by the city of St. Louis as the president of the Board of Public Services. He oversaw the contracts for renovations to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. After completing his tenure with the city of St. Louis, he retired to Tucson.

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Ernie was an avid golfer and enjoyed socializing at Omni Tucson National where he was a member. He participated in many competitive and charity golf events over the years. He was also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi (Bolulé).

Ernie was survived by his beloved wife of 53 years, Paola; son, Ernest III of Oakland, Calif.; daughter, Jolene (Demetrius) Hamm of McDonough, Ga.; sisters, Nancy Jones of Uniontown and Hattie Sam of New Orleans and Billie Clinton of Morgan Hills, Calif. He will be missed dearly by many nieces, nephews and devoted friends.

A memorial service will be held at Omni Tucson National on Saturday, May 2, 2015, at 4 p.m. Ernie will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on Aug. 18, 2015. Arrangements by Desert Sunset Funeral Home.