William Dean Harnish

Oct 26 1974
Aug 23 2020
45 Years
Raleigh, North Carolina

William was born on October 26, 1974 in Lancaster, PA, to George William (“Bill”) and Joan (Royle) Harnish. A member of Octorara Area High School Class of 1993 and a 1997 graduate of Bard College, William followed in his mother’s footsteps with a long career in libraries, holding positions at The Pennsylvania State University, Towson State University, and North Carolina State University, where he received the Provost Unit's Award for Excellence in 2019.

William was a man of eclectic interests. He could happily listen to Johnny Cash or Norwegian death metal – or anything in between. He became a New England Patriots fan when they were absolutely terrible and could talk football like a professional analyst. He not only tracked down some of the hottest hot sauces on the planet, but he made his own creations with peppers from the local Raleigh farmers’ market. He found joy in running and competed in several half-marathons in the Triangle area. He was a self-taught vegan cook who enjoyed the best of Raleigh’s craft beer offerings. William was known for his incredible work ethic, integrity, and generosity – and for wearing a knit cap to keep his bald head warm, even in the summer!

In addition to his parents, William is survived by his sister, Kathryn Harnish, and her husband, Robert Lawless, of Houlton, Maine. William also leaves behind the lights of his life, Maverick and Zoe, two rescue dogs he adopted and upon whom he doted.

Services will be private, but the family asks all who knew William to lift a glass in his honor. Those wishing to memorialize William may also make a donation to Handsome Dan’s Rescue at www.handsomedansrescue.org.


Very very sorry about this, NY condolences out to the family. Prayers going out to u all. Be strong.

RIP Bill


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So very sorry for your loss. I graduated high school with Bill. My prayers and condolences to everyone in your family. 

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Sorry for your loss, my prayers to the family.  I have good memories of from my childhood friendship with Bill.

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Condolences to the family and extra love to Maverick and Zoe.

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I had the pleasure of being Bill's third grade teacher at the Octorara Elementary School.  Bill was a brilliant young man who was a joy to teach.  My heart is so very shocked and saddened to learn of his untimely passing.  Mr. and Mrs. Harnish and Kathryn, I extend my most profound condolences to all of you.  I pray you are feeling our great Heavenly Father's loving arms embracing you during this most difficult time.  May you each continue to feel His comforting presence providing peace and solace in the days ahead.  Many prayers are being lifted on your behalf.        

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