Al Harrison


CONTACT and I have lost one of our oldest, dearest and most loyal friends, our beloved Al Harrison. Serendipitously, yesterday (the day he died), I showed my class a CONTACT PBS video documentary and Al had a starring role in it, so I got a chance to say goodbye without ever realizing it. But kismet seemed always a part of our connection.

In 1986, I organized a special interdisciplinary session at the Society for Applied Anthropology meetings in Reno, „Designing a Human Habitat in Space.š The first person I phoned, out of the blue, was Al Harrison, chairman of Psychology Department at UC Davis and NASA consultant (author of a the recent benchmark publication, Living Aloft). Al didn‚t know me from Adam, but, on a fortunate (for me) whim, he decided to join the crazy anthropologist on the other end of the line.

I picked him up in Davis and we drove together to Reno. We‚ve never stopped talking since, personally or professionally. Al was a valued board member for many years, and in 2010 was our keynote speaker, an event honoring our special veterans. He was unceasing in his support of CONTACT over the years and, in his major publications, never failed to mention the inspiration he derived from his dedicated participation in our organization. I‚ll miss you, old buddy. We all will.

-Jim Funaro