Larry Harju

November 25, 1943 - January 30, 2023
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Marana Mortuary & Cemetery
Benjamin W Lewis
Nicole Fredricks Light a candle


Lawrence Wayne Harju

On Monday, January 30th, 2023, Lawrence “Larry” Wayne Harju was guided by angels to enter his eternal resting place in heaven at the age of 79. Larry was born at Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago, Illinois on November 25th, 1943 to Reino Harju and Ruth Nelson.



In his youth, he was a Tenant Farmer in Shabbona, Illinois where he also graduated from Shabbona High School in 1961. He enlisted into the U.S. Army in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he served as a Fixed Wing Aviation Mechanic from the ranks of Private to Sergeant as an enlisted Non-Commissioned Officer honorably. After only 1 year and 8 months his superiors noticed his Commissioned Officer potential, aptitude, and drive so they recommended he go to Engineer Officer Candidate School which he gladly applied to. During his Aviation Officer career, he graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in 1974 with a B.S. in Aviation Management. He flew missions, tested, taught, and mobilized the U.S. Army Mohawk aircraft used for battlefield surveillance. His military career evolved into a prominent change of military occupational specialty to a Military Intelligence Officer. He proudly served as an Officer of the U.S. Army for 22 years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He received many awards to include the Bronze Star with over 5 years of foreign service in South Korea and Vietnam during his illustrious career while serving on active duty.


During one of his deployments to South Korea, he fell in love with a beautiful woman named Song who became his wife for 42 years before his passing. The newly married couple gave birth to Lee Harju in 1982 followed by Lynn Harju in 1988. Upon his retirement from the U.S. Army, he dedicated his career to protecting our American freedoms in the fields of radar, intelligence, aviation, and military strategy while employed by multiple private organizations that were intertwined with all the U.S. Armed Forces.



Although his career accolades were spectacular, he also excelled as a husband, father, grandfather, Coach, philanthropist, Spiritual Practitioner, and humanitarian. He was a devout Christian and was heavily involved in the day-to-day activities and long-term missions of multiple churches. He was well known for his charismatic demeanor, selfless actions, quick-thinking, contagious smile, warmhearted spirit, and full transparency. He prided himself on being a straight shooter with his honesty and weapons. He always took time to listen when people talked especially when it was about something that he did not have intimate knowledge of. He had a passion for teaching and was a perpetual student. He cherished spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Some of his hobbies were swimming, dancing, basketball, music, cruising cars, heavy machinery, listening to others, conversating with complete strangers (especially Veterans), studying the Bible, contributing to a project, weaponry, providing for the family, the Republican Party, and more. 


He will be remembered as a hero to his family, country, faith, and community.

He is survived by Song (wife), Lee (son), Lynn (daughter), Joey (son-in-law), Stacey (daughter-in-law), Joseph/Jacob/Jaylene/Jordan (grandchildren), David Harju (brother) and family in Rogers, Arkansas, Alan Harju (brother) and family in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Rick Maurer (brother) and family in Genoa, Illinois.


A Celebration of Life Ceremony honoring Larry will be held at Sierra Vista Bethel Church located at 1130 North Taylor Dr., Sierra Vista, AZ 85635 at 9:00 am on Friday, February 17th, 2023. Please try to arrive 15 minutes early. There will then be a procession leaving the Celebration of Life ceremony at 10 am where we will follow the local Sheriff to Buffalo Soldier Gate of Fort Huachuca off of East Fry Blvd to his burial. Make sure to be with the procession if attending the burial as the streets will be blockaded by the local Sheriff and the procession will need to be guided by the Fort Huachuca Military Police to the Post Cemetery. We will then have a burial service of his urn at Fort Huachuca’s Post Cemetery at 11 am. Following the burial, we will have a funeral reception lunch that everybody is welcome to attend back at Sierra Vista Bethel Church from 1 – 3 pm.


If you have any pictures, memories, or comments you’d like to share, please forward them to

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Timeline for Larry Harju

Born: November 25, 1943
Died: January 30, 2023

Condolences for Larry Harju

Marana Mortuary & Cemetery

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Marana Mortuary & Cemetery.


Charina Sabal posted on 2/17/23

Wish I could have met your dad. What an amazing man and a wonderful life he had. You are the spitting image of your father. When I saw the pictures of him, I thought it was you Lee. Just want to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May he rest in peace.


jesus posted on 2/16/23

Yo sé que es muy difícil aceptar la pérdida de un ser querido , especialmente un padre que siempre estuvo pendiente de su familia y devoto a Dios. Yo sé que lo vamos a recordar por cómo él fue en Vida siempre un hombre justo Y de sentimientos Que Dios lo tenga en su santa gloria amén


Benjamin W Lewis posted on 2/12/23

Larry was such a great man! My family was the recipient of many kind acts of service from him. My family moved next door to him and Song about 4 years ago. He always asked if he could help us and did many times. I enjoyed personally getting to talk to him about family, faith, politics. He loved his family. He loved his country. He loved his God. I know he is going to be missed by many and heaven recieved a good man. Our hearts and prayers go out to his wife Song and his kids. We love the Harju family. Peace and God be with you. Love Your friends and neighbors The Lewis family


Joel Sanchez posted on 2/11/23

My most sincere condolences to the Family. May He Rest In Peace ?


Cindy posted on 2/10/23

Lee, may loving memories of your father bring you and your family peace.


Noel and Melanie Landas posted on 2/8/23

Brotha, How I wish I have met POPS before leaving us as I'm sure there will be stories. I hope to see him someday up where I'm sure he is watching now. I can see the resemblance in many things and ways that you are and have become. What a wonderful life he had that was full of service and love. Please accept our condolences and we will continue to pray for you and the rest of family for continued comfort during this difficult times.


Doris Harraway posted on 2/8/23

Thank You for sharing What a wonderful life your father has lived on earth and now he is where we all pray to be someday in heaven with our heavenly father. Prayers of comfort for you, your mom, family, and friends for your great loss. Love is Eternal. GOD is love.


Nicole Fredricks posted on 2/8/23

Dear Lee and Family, What a tremendous presence your father was. My family and I send our deepest condolences to you and yours.