A celebration of life for Ray Harriman will take place at 6 p.m. Friday, June 16, at Panther Stadium.
The public is invited to the service at the football field, located at Cortez Middle School.
Harriman, who was a social studies teacher and coach at M-CHS, likely suffered heart failure that led to a car crash near the intersection of Fourth Street and Merritt Way in Dolores about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Harriman was 61 and had taught in the district for more than 20 years, according to Re-1 Superintendent Lori Haukeness.
“I know that personally Mr. Harriman taught me many lessons in my life starting when we worked together as coaches for the high school, and all the way up to his passing as a leader in the history department,” M-CHS Principal Jason Wayman said in an email sent to students, parents and community members on Thursday.
Harriman was born March 24, 1956 in Pueblo to Raymond and Geraldine (Zgut) Harriman, according to the Ertel Funeral Home. Among survivors are Harriman’s wife, Deborah Harriman, of Cortez, son Kyle Harriman of Denver and parents Raymond and Gerry Harriman, of Walsenburg. Also surviving are Harriman’s siblings, Joanna Payne (Carl) and Eric Harriman (Margo), of Pueblo West and David Harriman (Josie) of Walsenburg.
Harriman had spent the day riding his mountain bike with his dog at Boggy Draw north of Dolores before he died, according to Kinsey Ertel. He spent 39 years in the Southwest and worked to understand the region’s culture. In addition to teaching, he spent time as a crew chief on the Dolores Archaeological Project.
Harriman was pronounced dead at Southwest Memorial on Tuesday evening. According to local officials and family, he likely suffered heart failure, which led to the crash. Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin said Wednesday that his office was waiting for an official cause of death from the county coroner.
He had taught in the district for more than 20 years, according to Haukeness.
“He was a great man and cared so much about this community,” said his son, Kyle Harriman.
Former students who shared memories and thoughts of their time with Harriman remembered him as an engaging, supportive and caring teacher.
“He saw us all the same and did his best to teach us how to really think,” Ally Orton said. “He taught us to open our eyes, look at things critically and to always question authority.”
Brittny Weir, who graduated from M-CHS in 2007, said he went the extra mile for students.
“Mr. Harriman taught with so much passion it would make students want to engage, and make us interested in what he was saying,” Weir said in an email.
Bob Archibeque, who coached football and basketball at Cortez Middle School and M-CHS with Harriman, said he loved life and made others happy.
“Every day I got to know Ray, he made everyone’s life around him better,” Archibeque said. “He brought joy to so many kids and people.”
The celebration of life service will be open to the public. A memorial page for Harriman has been set up at www.never-gone.com/Memorials/RayHarriman.