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Thomas Lee GarrisDecember 24, 1946 ~ August 25, 2017 (age 70)
Thomas L. Garris, 70, of Kittanning, died Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, at Armstrong County Memorial Hospital. He was born Dec. 24, 1946 in Oil City, Pa to the late Wayne L. and Betty E. (Eaton) Garris. Tom spent most of his life living in California and Pennsylvania. He was a retired Command Master Chief in the U.S. Navy and was also a retired electronic engineer at Philips Respironics. He was a member of the VFW Post 4843 in Ford City. Tom enjoyed wood-working. He was a Corvette collector. He loved his dogs, Bubba and Gretchen, and he especially loved his nieces and nephews and the Navy. Master Chief Garris entered the U.S. Navy in Jan. 1966 where he attended Recruit Training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill. His first tour of duty was aboard USS AMERICA (CVA- 66) home ported in Norfolk, Va., where he served from June 1966 to Dec. 1969. From Jan. 1970 to Jan. 1971, Master Chief Garris was assigned to Naval Schools Command, Treasure Island, Calif., where he was a student at RD “B” School. In Jan. 1971, he served in USS ENGLAND (DLG-22) home ported in San Diego until Nov. 1972, at which time he was transferred to the Naval Intelligence Support Command, Washington D.C., for four years. In March 1976 until May 1978, Master Chief Garris was transferred back to the West Coast where he was assigned to Fleet Composite Operational Readiness Group One located in San Diego. In May 1978, he was assigned to USS LANG (FF- 1060) until May 1980. From May 1980 to April 1982, Master Chief Garris was assigned to USS GRAY (FF-1054). Then in April 1982 he was transferred to the Staff of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet where he served as Force Electronic Warfare Officer. In May 1986, Master Chief Garris reported to duty station, Fleet Tactical Deception Group Pacific, where he served four years as Command Master Chief. Master Chief Garris has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal; the Navy Commendation Medal; the Navy Achievement Medal; the Navy Unit Commendation; the Meritorious Unit Commendation; five Good Conduct Medals; the Navy Expeditionary Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal; the Humanitarian Service Medal; Sea Service Ribbon; and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Sandy (Harnish) Garris, of Kittanning; sister, Laurie (Bill) Grove, of Rock Hill, South Carolina; brother, Greg Garris; mother-in-law, Geraldine Harnish, of Kittanning; brothers-in-law, Lee (Mary Ellen) Harnish, of Kittanning, Bill (Ann Etta) Harnish, of New Holland, Pa.; niece, Gretchen (Kip) Contrael, and their children, Kade, Malayna, and Lukas, all of Kittanning; nephews, Jon Harnish, of Pittsburgh, and Marcus Garris, of Karns City, and his children, Emma, Austin, and Isabel; niece, Angela (John) Talboo. He is preceded in death by his parents; and Father-in-law, Leroy Harnish Sr. Friends will be received from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 and from 9 a.m. until time of funeral service at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, at the Snyder Crissman Funeral Home, 200 S. McKean St., Kittanning with Rev. Dr. Ron Shafer officiating. Burial will be at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies with full military honors.