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Harry Douglas Garrabrant

He was born in Paterson, NJ, on September 25, 1945.  Harry’s dad, Harry, his mom, Mary and sister, Martha migrated to Florida. During high school Harry was into boxing at the Police Athletic League and won the St Pete checkers championship at the Million Dollar Pier.  Harry graduated from St Pete High and joined the army. He spent time in Vietnam as a door gunner on the Huey’s.  No wonder he returned afraid of heights.   In Germany, he was Sergeant of the motor pool working on and driving those huge 5 ton dusanahaf trucks.  He actually loved it.

For his wife Barbara, it all started with a knock on the door.

This Jersey girl just got in late at night to the new apartment. I requested to stay in the empty apartment as opposed to a hotel, which was OK with the management. However, on the way to my end of the hall apartment, they knocked on everyone’s door to announce I had arrived. The last one being Harry’s apartment. After a short while of getting acclimated there was a knock at the door. It was Harry looking to see if I was OK in the apt.  I was but just wanted to get some sleep.  A few moments later, he appeared dragging a mattress. He insisted I shouldn’t sleep on the floor. It was a welcomed surprise.  One more time he returned with an extension cord from his apt to mine, complete with lamp, table and chair. It would be a few days before my electric was turned on and my furnishings arrived.  That was my first few hours of introduction to Harry. In the morning, he came down to help me unpack the car. Call it karma if you want, but as he reached in to get my ficus tree, I said to him “be careful with ‘Harry’- Harry.  I named my tree a year before.  Lucky for him, my dog liked him. So started the journey, that came to an end 42 years and four months later.

In between all that time we managed to laugh live and love. Harry’s passion for fishing and golfing kept his weekends busy. He enjoyed training and running in races. He really loved the Turkey Trot in Clearwater and the Hog Hustle in Dunedin.  We always made time to travel, at least during the working years, once or twice. After retirement the floodgates opened and we were travelling wherever and whenever we could. Despite his illnesses that started taking over, Harry made the gallant effort to continue on and enjoy life as much as he could.

His love for animals, especially dogs, was evident by us having 11 dogs in our life together. Most all were rescues in one way or another. His generosity to animals and people was displayed in all he did. He was always lending a hand whether by physical or monetary means. He donated to causes that touched his ever-loving heart. At one time he supplied a homeless man with warm drinks/soups in the winter, blankets, and sandwiches. When he got housing, Harry obtained some furniture and incidentals to help him out. That’s the guy he was.  We were never blessed with children. In that absence, he always fulfilled Christmas wishes for kids. At the Holidays, he always contributed to the food drives.  He always supported the local animal shelters, either by monetary donations or toys, food and beds brought to the shelters. Our “kidz” all wore fur coats.

Life has been good for him. As his loving wife, I will sorely miss him. To His sister and all our loving friends take solitude in the fact that these last few years of pain and agony are no more. I know he pushed away from a lot of people; but, only to not show them his suffering. Remember in all the glory days of smiles and helping hands. God Bless.

Services with Military Honors will be held at Bay Pines National Cemetery at 9:30am on Friday, August 24, 2018. The cemetery is located at 10000 Bay Pines Blvd, Bay Pines, Florida.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Harry’s name be made to Pet Pal Animal Shelter, 405 22nd Street South, St. Petersburg, FL 33712 or go to 

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  • Lori Reffett says:

    I enjoyed reading about the many facets of Harry. He was a very generous person indeed. Great pictures too.

  • Lori Rudy says:

    Barb, our thoughts and prayers go out to you at this time.

    We will always remember meeting you and Harry on the cruise when I was pregnant for Ian. Ian still has the HUGE stuffed horse you and Harry sent him for his first Christmas in 2002. We loved being able to get together whenever possible when we would travel down to Florida. We will always carry fond memories in our hearts of him. (((HUGS))

  • Mona coleman says:

    Our thoughts are with you and may Harry Rest In Peace. You did everything for him now try to relax and enjoy life. He would want you to keep “traveling”.

  • Gayle Walsh says:

    We were lucky to met you and Harry in 2002 when you stayed at our little resort in Englewood, Fl. I think you took the first picture of Reba, our puppy, with Harry at our resort, the Windjammer.
    I really enjoyed reading about how you and Harry met, a sweet story of how Harry took care of you before you two were an item. I’m sad for Harry, he left us when he was so generous with himself but seem to have the health issues that was more than one person could seem to handle, life isn’t fair. Harry was a real gentleman!

  • Jim Fritchley says:

    Harry was my good friend for over 43 years. We enjoyed many good times together hunting, fishing, and having a “cold one” once in a while. He was a generous man with a heart of gold that enjoyed helping people. Barbara was the love of his life. I will miss him . Rest In Peace my friend, your struggles are over.

  • Janet Kennedy says:

    So many facets of his life that I didn’t know. So glad you had many happy years together and great memories.

  • Donn & Judy Nyhart says:

    Barb, Judy and my thoughts and prays go out to you.

    We both had the pleasure of working with him for several years and many “C” files.

    Harry may you rest in peace.

  • Donald Banno says:

    He was a true gentlemen. He will be missed.

  • Steve Patterson says:

    I knew Harry of course at the VA. But also got know him playing poker. I enjoyed those times and his company. Very sorry for your loss. Go and be in peace Harry.

  • Olli Larson says:

    Dear Barb: Was so looking forward to our trip together Aug.5th. I know Harry is resting now and no more hurts.
    You are still in my prayers. I will always think of him when it gets cold outside. Him wrapped up in his blankets.
    You take care of yourself. Hope to see you soon.

  • Joyce & John Tatum says:

    Barbara that was beautiful. Thank you for sharing these special memories and insights about your sweet Harry. We know how much you and your fur babies miss him. Glad I got to work with him at the VA and John and I were glad we got to see you and him at our VA luncheons. Loved the awesome pictures you shared, he was truly blessed to have you and the pups in his life. Hugs and prayers to you xo

  • Karen Hinkley says:

    It was so interesting to read the story of your lives together. It was a very nice tribute to a loving and generous man. I’m so glad you had 42 wonderful years together. You and Harry were some of the first friends that my husband Ed and I made when we moved to Florida 30 years ago. Plus Harry was my boss for awhile at the VA. I know that you and the furbabies are really hurting right now, but Harry is out of pain now and you will all be reunited in the future. May he rest in peace.

  • Teresa and Michael Caruso says:

    Barbara we are so sorry to hear about your husband’s passing. Carolyn and Steve told us. Stay well. Respectfully, Teresa and Michael Caruso
    Lilly and Joe Monte

  • Carl Crowningshield says:

    An unforgettable character.
    Harry and I played alot of rounds of golf together. Win or lose in many golf tournaments, we had alot of laughs.
    Also played alot of poker with him and many other friends.
    You could also count on him to be there for you if needed.
    A very unselfess and caring friend.
    He will be greatly missed.
    As Vince Gill puts in a song:
    “Go rest high on that mountain, your work on earth is done”
    A true friend he was to all…

  • Martha A Blakeney (Sis) says:

    Barb, the story was beautiful. Thank you. You gave my brother so many years of true love. What a blessing you are to both of us. Thank you for all that you did for my brother and for making his life special. You could not have done more for him. You both have hearts of gold. I am glad he is at peace and not hurting anymore. May God Bless you. You were a wonderful wife and I could not have asked for a better sister-in-law. May God bless you abundantly. Love you,

  • Denise Wojciulewicz says:

    Harry, Thank you for letting me part of your life and giving me the great pleasure of taking care of your sweet fur babies while you and Barb were off on your many travels. Rest in Peace dear friend.

    Barb, you are a wonderfully sweet lady and my heart and prayers goes out to you for I know how yours in acking now. I loved hearing again on how the two of you met and how fate played it out. Harry and you both showed love to many people and Harry will always hold a place in my heart. Love and hugs to you, Barb.

  • Luis Gonzalez says:


    Anyone that you and Harry welcomed into your home, or if they saw you out somewhere, were witness to how much care and dedication you gave to Harry. Harry received the blessings from God for being a very charitable person, and you are blessed by God for all your efforts to care for him. Harry will be always missed. My sincere sympathy to you, Martha, and all Harry’s family. .

    Luis & Family


    Dear so sorry.I know the feeling of loss very well.I will make a donation in Harry’s name ,and will continue to do so. Love John.

  • Paulette & Art Competelli says:

    You are in our thoughts & prayers now & always. We enjoyed reading more about Harry & your life together. We always enjoyed your company on our travels. Art & I will remember Harry fondly & be grateful we had to chance to spend a little time with the both of you. Fondly, Paulette & Art Competelli

  • Carter Family says:

    Please accept our deepest condolences for the loss of Harry. We pray that our loving Heavenly Father (Psalm 83:18) grants you peace during this difficult time.

  • Laura Chocklette says:

    Barbara and Martha, I am so sorry for your loss, you are both in my prayers and thoughts. Hope his “furbabies” are doing okay.