Harris loved life, his work

22-year-old father killed in car accident was 'talented'

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When Jeffrey Harris worked with his mom and dad in their Steamboat Springs wood shop, he towered over his mother, Doral, and used to call her "Little Chief."

"He was such a huge part of the shop," Doral Harris said. "He kept us on our feet."

Harris was killed in a car accident Friday on Colorado Highway 9 near Green Mountain Reservoir. He was returning from Denver with a friend who needed support dealing with a relationship break-up when their 2004 Dodge Viper hit a guardrail. He was 22.

The driver, 30-year-old Dan Robbins, a former Steamboat Springs resident, was not injured and was arrested on charges of vehicular homicide, manslaughter and reckless driving.

Harris, a graduate of Steam--boat Springs High School, lived with his family in Clark.

When his parents reflect on Harris' life, they see a young adult full of promise, on the cusp of many promising changes in his life -- with his family, his work and his lifestyle.

Harris turned 22 on May 30, and was about to close on a condominium in Steamboat.

An avid outdoorsman who enjoyed snowboarding, fly fishing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting and backpacking, he also was a young father just beginning to share his love of the outdoors with his daughter.

"He loved being outdoors because he grew up on the Elk River," said his father, Dan.

On a camera in the family shop, he left pictures from a recent outing with his 20-month-old daughter, Jessa, whom he had started teaching how to fish.

"She's a fireball just like her dad," Dan Harris said.

Jessa loved being out on the river with her dad, Doral Harris said.

"Jeff was a very devoted father and spent all of his time off with her," she said.

Jessa's mother, Kelly Hisey, and Harris were close, his parents said.

In his work life, Harris was equally devoted.

Harris' father said his son was a natural when it came to the designing and woodworking they did in their store, Appalachian Hardwood.

"He loved it. He was so committed and very focused," he said.

Harris was a passionate woodworker and artist, enjoying pastel and pencil art.

"He was a very intense, talented person," Doral Harris said.

Before Harris' death, he was working with his parents on a coffee table that he designed. The table is going to be put out to display pictures during Harris' services.

"He loved to design and build furniture," Doral Harris said.

One recent piece of furniture he built was shown in a home that was featured on the Travel Channel, proving Jeffrey's high caliber of work.

Harris also was very close to his siblings, Kalea, 25, and Warner, 20. Doral Harris said her middle child always looked out for his older sister, Kalea. He used to go see his sister nearly daily and get coffee at the Starbucks she manages.

A memorial fund has been set up in Jeffrey Harris' name at the Wells Fargo Bank for his daughter, Jessa Lane.

Services for Jeffrey Harris will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Lufkin Ranch on Colorado Highway 131, adjacent to the Haymaker Golf Course.

"Jeffrey isn't the kind of person who belongs in a funeral home," Doral said. "It fits his personality to be out in the open, in front of a lake."

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