On Nov. 24, 2022, Thanksgiving Day, surrounded by family and love at home, longtime Methow Valley local, Christopher Ronald Michael Harwood, left this earthly world and his spirit ascended into the great oneness after an extremely brief battle with cancer.
Chris is survived by his three children: Crystal and Nate Stanton of Maple Valley, Washington, Chris (Kit) Harwood of Brewster, and Alisha (Jim) McMillan of Twisp; and his seven grandchildren, Ava, Pearl, Kara, James, Iris, Ruby and Hudson.
Born in Twineham, England, on July 12, 1954, at the age of 5 Chris immigrated with his family to Seattle. Here he grew up and developed a deep love for music and motorcycles, spending many days playing brass and hanging with friends.
In 1974, at 20 years old, Chris moved to Twisp with his partner and their oldest child, 2-year-old Crystal. This began his lifetime love of the Methow Valley and where he would raise his children and call home for the rest of his life. In the 1970s it was common to see him riding his unicycle down Glover Street or to the Twisp park with Crystal propped on the front or his shoulders. Or sitting on the front of his Triumph Trophy Trail riding trails all over the valley. As his children got older this continued as cross-state rides together on road bikes, and on long-distance rides with his lifelong best friends and Methow Valley locals, Betty and Gary Costello.
As a self-proclaimed city boy he had a lot to learn about living in the country and the wild Methow of the 1970s and ’80 s, and he embraced it whole heartedly. He was grateful for local friends like Charles Toal who took him under their wing and taught him everything he needed to know about the valley. Things like hunting, fishing, surviving and thriving in such an isolated, harsh and basic environment, often without power, running water, telephone, money or other modern conveniences.
We are thankful for the countless memories with Chris fishing, hiking, camping, adventures and traveling, watching sunsets and moonrises, star watching and spotting the space station and eclipses. He started fishing with his kids as soon as they could hold a rod. He spent many hours at local lakes and rivers with his kids and local friends whom he loved dearly, like Leaf Seaberg, who were known to take long hikes together to some of the most secluded and amazing fishing spots or drill holes in sub-zero temperatures to ice fish.
When economics dictated a change, Chris traveled back to Seattle to train at Boeing as a design engineer from the late 1970s through the ’80s, where he spent weekends coming back to the valley. He instilled an appreciation of space, universe, science, flying and airplanes to his children and grandchildren. His oldest grandson James wants to work for NASA.
He adored his hidden cabin on the river, and loved our days sitting on the shore, listening to and playing music and splashing with the grandkids. He loved attending music concerts and R&B festivals with his kids, friends and grandkids. Chris was a musician, one of the best, having played brass at a young age and then guitar as an adult. He joined many open mic nights and practiced with friends in his retirement outside by the river. He also enjoyed teaching his grandkids how to read music and play their instruments.
Chris’s travels and experiences as a beer and cannabis aficionado were paramount. He was trained as a certified Master Grower in Amsterdam and an amazing horticulturist and grower. We are thankful he shared his love of gardening, horticulture, beer and the finest cannabis.
Chris loved geology and studied and appreciated the science and history around how the earth was formed. Living so near one of the most magnificent geological wonders of Dry Falls we traveled there often to hike and camp, and he had knowledge of a long forgotten pre-historic cave that housed our earliest ancestors near Dry Falls and took his grandkids there, only accessible by boat. We are thankful he passed his adventurous demeanor and rockhound love down to his children and grandchildren. Our houses are all full of rocks and fossils. He owns a nice collection of tribal artifacts that he has found on his riverside property, on hikes and while rock hounding.
We are thankful for our annual trips to Seafair races and the countless boating adventures we had, canoeing and kayaking. He would take his kids and grandkids out in canoes or kayaks all over the state and valley. We will miss boating with him. We had some fun tubing trips down the Methow.
Chris instilled in his family the appreciation for beauty of nature. The glass stillness of a lake, or the shape of mountains. Chris’s favorite season was winter, with the countless photographic opportunities and fun to be had skiing, skating and sledding. Chris was a professional photographer trained at the Art Institute of Seattle. We are thankful for the thousands of amazing images he left behind and our appreciation for photography. You may notice that his youngest daughter Alisha shares in this gift, with her amazing local sports photography. Chris did photography work for the Loup, and had the opportunity to ski with his grandkids there. Ice skating days morphed from shoveled ponds in Twisp in the 1970s and ’80s with his kids and friends to groomed ice in Winthrop in the 2010s with his grandkids.
We are thankful to Chris for the countless bicycle rides. He even traveled the U.S. bicycling with his son Kit, taking professional photos of trails for local bicycling magazines.
We are thankful his vast travels in Europe that he passed down a deep appreciation for history, architecture, travel and humanity to his family. We thank our Dad for our appreciation of both our British and American heritage as well as our Native American heritage on our mother’s side. Some of his children were lucky to travel with him back to England, Wales and Scotland to meet family and family and explore. He pushed us to take risks, and look outward. He made our horizons bigger.
We thank him for giving us all the legacy of first-generation immigrants to a country full of hope and possibilities. Some of his last requests to us were to stay and fight and save this world and country. He believed in its possibility and wanted a better future for his grandchildren.
His children and grandchildren were his greatest joy, and we are all thankful for the amazing life, teachings, and immense love he gave. He loved his sons-in-law like his own sons. We were lucky to have you. It wasn’t long enough, and COVID stole our final years, but it never would have been long enough.
We are thankful for the spirituality he shared and passed down to us. We are all one and we will merge when it’s our time. The power and sacredness of the universe, where we all come from and return to.
We are thankful for the support of friends and family during his incredibly short fight. And to End of Life Washington and the amazing Dr. Betsy Weiss in supporting Chris and his family in his final journey, and ease his immense suffering. We are thankful to live in a progressive state where we have this option of mercy and dignity.
At Chris’s request there will be no formal services or funeral. His family and close friends will celebrate his life this summer at his beloved river spot.
In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make … and he took a lot of love with him when he left. We are heartbroken and going to miss him beyond words.