Dear Dad

There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of you. You left too quickly and I did not get to say goodbye. There are so many things I would love to tell you. I would love to simply hang out and do everyday things like.......hear your thoughts on the current state of the union, work on the kids' science projects, watch the Auburn games, watch you play with your grandsons, act silly, and play Bon Jovi air guitar. You were loved by many. You touched many lives with your love of life and of science. I am blessed with so many great memories of having such a fun and loving Dad. I miss you! If you are lucky enough to still have your parents, call, visit. You never know when God will need them back. I am sure my Dad is busy in heaven leading the Auburn fan club, discussing politics, telling jokes, playing pranks and having an all around great time, but I sure do miss you! Hope we have made you proud.

Neal Harrison, April 6, 1944-September 2, 2008

Neal Harrison, 64, of Huntsville died Tuesday.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Roy A. and Lura R. Harrison of Rogersville.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Cheryl Preston Harrison of Huntsville; daughter, Alicia James and husband Zack of Huntsville; son, Jeremy Harrison and wife Holly of Fort Worth, Texas; two grandsons, Zackary Kohen James and Luke Preston Harrison; and one brother, Albert Ray Harrison of Detroit, Michigan.

Neal graduated from Athens Bible School, the University of North Alabama and earned a master's degree from Auburn University. He passed on his love for science to countless students during his 28 years as an educator at the University of North Alabama, Johnson High School, Chapman Middle School, and Calhoun Community College.
After retiring, he served as a volunteer at Crestwood hospital, where he received the presidential award for his many years of service.

He will be remembered as a loving husband, caring father and grandfather, loyal friend, and avid fan of the Auburn Tigers

Neal and I met over forty years ago when he began his graduate program under me in Plant Pathology at Auburn University. Our relationship may have begun formally as teacher and student, but soon and most importantly became one of beloved friends and brothers in Christ. Neal was an outstanding graduate student, one of the most intelligent I had the privilege to mentor throughout my career. He completed a very important and fundamental study on viruses that infect cow peas or southern peas in Alabama. His work was subsequently published in two papers in an international journal in plant pathology. On a much less serious note, during Neal’s graduate days. I somehow, and for reasons I’ll never know, gained the nickname "Rowdy Robert"! While I don’t know who gave me that moniker, I had then and still have strong suspicions of its origin. Strangely, it died out after Neal graduated. Go figure.

Neal came to Auburn with a strong faith in Christ, a testimony to his upbringing. And, he grew in the Lord as a faithful and active member of His body here. As he continued his education and then his professional career, our contacts were naturally less frequent. But Neal always kept in touch and informed me about the happenings in his life.

Like all of us, Neal had his share of hills and valleys throughout his life. But, he carried some burdens of health and related issues that many of us haven’t had to bear. I’m convinced Neal persevered because of an abiding faith in God and the undying support of Cheryl and the children. Eventually for whatever reason, our bodies become an unsuitable home for our soul and it returns to God and our bodies to the earth, as part of His creation plan. We know that we are all going to make that transition one day. But Neal has gone on before us and has left a void in many hearts and lives. Our mortal words seem woefully inadequate at times like this.

Neal is there now. And, thankfully through God’s wonderful love and grace, we’ll all be with Neal one day.

I Peter 1:3-9

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope though the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade-keep in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief and all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus is revealed. Though you have seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

Written by Dr. Robert Gudauskas, Neal’s mentor and friend

If You Could See Me Now

Our prayers have all been answered.
I finally arrived.
The healing that had been delayed,
Has now been realized.
No one’s in a hurry.
There’s no schedule to keep.
We’re all enjoying Jesus,
Just sitting at his feet.
If you could see me now.
I’m walking streets of gold.
If you could see me now.
I am standing tall and whole.
If you could see me now.
You know I've seen His face.
If you could see me now.
You’d know the pain’s erased.
You wouldn’t want me
To ever leave this place.
If you could only see me now.
My light and temporary trials.
Have worked out for my good.
To know it brought Him glory,
When I misunderstood.
Though we’ve had our sorrows.
They can never compare.
What Jesus has in store for us
No language can share.
If you could see me now.
I’m walking streets of gold.
If you could see me now.
I’m standing tall and whole.
If you could see me now.
You’d know I’ve seen His face.
If you could see me now.
You’d know the pain’s erased.
You wouldn’t want me
To ever leave this perfect place.
If you could only see me now.

Kim Noblitt 1992 Hold Onto Music