Harlan Lassiter was born in Santa Ana, California, attended school in Orange County through the 1950s and ‘60s, and lived in Newport Beach for many years. He was an Eagle Scout. He graduated from Cal State Fullerton and, while attending, worked at Disneyland. He also worked at Decision Making Information (a Republican survey research company now Wirthlin Corp.) in the computer department. This was in the halcyon days of Ronald Reagan (in 1980); Harlan was doing the computer side of the polling that Kay Lavish was busily collecting, and it was just a matter of time before the two became friends. He also worked at Boyle Engineering for many years. While Harlan never served in the military, his father was a World War II Veteran, and Harlan maintained membership in the Sons of American Legion organization. He was a member of the Elks organization as well.
An avid skier, Harlan frequented the slopes of Holiday Hill and Mountain High. A kismet winning of a weekend cabin rental in Wrightwood allowed Harlan to get to know Wrightwood after many “commuting” ski weekends. That weekend would have Harlan and Kay at the Blue Ridge Inn, where they began their time as “Wrightwoodians,” meeting so many good friends that have lasted thru time.
When Kay Lavish made the move to Wrightwood, it did not take long before Harlan made the full-time move to Wrightwood and what would become close to 30-year involvement in community activities.
Harlan was extremely active with the annual Wrightwood Car Show. Then 15 years ago, as a group came together to raise funds for a Veterans Memorial, something near and dear to Harlan’s heart, he stepped up and was one of the key workers in the fundraising for the monument, then over the years, has been one of a handful that has steadily worked to maintain the precious “heart” of Wrightwood, it’s Wrightwood Veterans Memorial. The weekend of his death, over this year’s Mountaineer Days, Harlan had helped set up the information booth that Veterans Memorial volunteers staff and had worked through Saturday with others at the booth.
As many do, getaway days from Wrightwood could lead to the Colorado River, and over the years, Harlan, Kay, and other Wrightwood friends would spend time in the Bullhead City/Fort Mohave area, ski doo’n on the river. This eventually led to first Harlan buying a weekender, then Kay buying a home with a full-time move some years back, forsaking his Orange County roots, but never Wrightwood, maintaining his mountain home in pluperfect condition, and visiting it and his Wrightwood friends often. Members of the Wrightwood Veterans Memorial “leadership” would always know when Harlan was back in the Village as emails would fly concerning every little “out of place piece of grass” at the Veterans Memorial. He was just that way. His volunteerism didn’t just focus on Wrightwood; through the years in the Fort Mojave area, Harlan has joined the support organization for the regional fire service. While not a fireman, he and others would work to provide materials and nourishment to firefighters when they were on large-scale fires.
Per his wishes, he will be buried in a family plot at Fairhaven Cemetery in Orange County. A “celebration of life” was held by his latest friends in the Fort Mohave area, and friends in Wrightwood and the Tri-Community will certainly be remembering their wonderful friend and volunteer co-worker at the Wrightwood Car Show. The Wrightwood Veterans Memorial group is planning a tribute to Harlan at the Veterans Day Ceremony. He will be missed.