Church said that when he was mayor, he always credited Harrison and Ron Holp of Ron’s Pizza for being “the nucleus for what’s going on” in downtown Miamisburg and for being “cheerleaders” for its development.
“For not being a native-born Miamisburg resident, when he moved into the community, that was one of the best things that ever happened to Miamisburg,” Church said. “He really got involved, especially with the downtown area.”
Doug Sorrell, who serves on the Historic Plaza Theatre’s emeritus board of directors, said Harrison purchased the building as part of his efforts to help Miamisburg revitalize its downtown.
“Joe went quietly went about doing things as a private citizen with his own money that has contributed greatly to the success our downtown now enjoys,” Sorrell said. “I will miss his easy smile, agreeable demeanor and constant drive to improve our community.”
Harrison’s active interest in the community also included a compassionate and generous side, including donations to organizations and individuals, including the homeless, children and veterans, as well as assisting those who were simply down on their luck.
“He helped a lot of his renters at times when they were having a hard time making payments,” Church said. “He worked with them. He was a people person.”
Harrison was predeceased by his parents, and by two of his siblings, Robert and Nancy. He is survived by his wife, Rita, and three daughters: Kari, Kelly and Kristina, as well as by three grandchildren two great-grandchildren and by his brother Jim.
The family is scheduled to receive friends from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, at Gebhart-Schmidt-Parramore Funeral Home, 508 E. Linden Ave., Miamisburg. A memorial service, followed by light refreshments, is slated for 1 to 4 p.m. Monday at The Plaza Theatre, 33. S. Main St., Miamisburg.