Cover photo for Thomas C. Harrison's Obituary
Thomas C. Harrison Profile Photo

Thomas C. Harrison

May 19, 1939 — February 25, 2024

Thomas C. Harrison

May 19, 1939 — February 25, 2024

Thomas (Tom / Big T) Charles Harrison, 84, passed away February 25, 2024 in Palm Desert, CA. He was born to Al and Simone Harrison of Long Beach, CA on May 19, 1939. 

A giant in the produce industry, both in stature and reputation, Tom worked alongside his father, Al Harrison, since he was a teenager to become “Watermelon Kings”. Al Harrison Co. Distributors developed deep relationships with so many on all platforms of the Produce Industry and the Community. Tom was a generous mentor and leader; helping many not only get their start but find their own success.

Tom continued to build the company after Al passed in 1985, where he also worked alongside his children Todd, Brent, and Shelley Harrison. He boasted about the days of selling 120 semi loads of watermelons per day with his children, during their Phoenix watermelon deal.

Tom was heavily involved in many associations within the Nogales Community and on a National scale, such as the Rotary Club, Board of Directors of United Fresh, National Watermelon Association, Watermelon Promotion Board and Western Growers. He was a strong advocate, traveling to Washington, D.C. on many occasions to fight for the Produce Industry.

Tom was an extremely generous man that always lit up a room. At 6’6”, and sporting his signature mustache, his presence was always jovial and kind, along with an approachable and loving energy. There isn’t an individual we can think of that didn’t like Tom. He will be missed by all that knew him!

His generosity was abundant. Tom once took all 34 employees from the warehouse to accounting and sales, including their spouses, to Hawaii for an end of season gift. Upon his return from the unforgettable trip, he made the Nogales International newspaper with an iconic photo of him on stage at a luau wearing only coconuts and a hula skirt, dancing in front of his employees. 

Tom was also an amazing father, that watched over and truly loved his children and grandchildren. As we say “Adios” (how Tom would end his phone calls), the family hopes to honor Tom by reflecting his values of love, compassion, and generosity.

Tom is survived by his children, Todd Harrison (Loretta), Brent Harrison (Susan), Shelley Harrison-Valdivia (Ralph); grandchildren Tasha Harrison Murata (Joey), James, Nicole, and Eden Harrison; great granddaughter Mina Hanalei Murata; partner Sima Gates; sisters Yvonne Calkins and Louise Slanker; proceeded in death by parents Al and Simone Harrison and wife Sharon Myers Harrison. 

Private family services will be held at Forest Lawn in Long Beach, CA. In lieu of flowers, Tom and family request donations to the American Cancer Society. 



Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service of Thomas Harrison

Friday, May 17, 2024

10:30 - 11:00 am (Pacific time)

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