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Harry Phillip Why

1947 ~ 2018 (age 71)

Harry Phillip Why

January 18, 1947 – December 11, 2018


A Memorial Mass to celebrate the life of Harry P. Why, 71, of North Bend, will be held on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 2250 16th Street in North Bend with Father Henry Rufo presiding. A reception will follow in the parish hall. Since Hawaii has always been a special place for Harry, the family requests gentlemen to wear their favorite Aloha shirt. A private family graveside committal will be held at Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery in Coos Bay.

Harry was born on January 18, 1947 in North Bend to Harry Why and Ruth ( Lee ) Why. He was fourth generation to the Coos Bay/North Bend area. He passed away on December 11, 2018 at his home in North Bend due to complications of familial amyloidosis.

Harry attended Coos Catholic school and then North Bend High School, graduating in the class of 1965. He went on to obtain his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mathematics from Southern Oregon University and his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Oregon.

Harry’s first job was helping stock shelves and delivering groceries to homes in the neighborhood for his grandparents’ grocery store, Bert’s Cash Grocery, located on Sherman Avenue. During the summertime between his college years he worked for the BLM helping survey the logging roads of Coos County. His first teaching job in 1969 was in Honolulu, Hawaii where he met his wife of 46 years, Anna Lee. They were married in 1972. Harry wanted to move back to North Bend, which they did after brief detours to Portland and Brookings. He returned to his hometown in 1976 and resided there until his passing.

Harry was a math teacher for 8 years, then worked for Weyerhaeuser Corp. in North Bend for a couple of years, and finally worked for the Coos Bay Post Office until he retired in 2007. He and his wife owned and managed apartment rentals in North Bend and Coos Bay for more than 40 years.

Harry was a family man and enjoyed waterskiing during the summers at the family cabin at Tenmile lakes and alpine skiing at Willamette Pass during the winter. He enjoyed playing chess and was an avid and locally competitive tennis player, which he participated in until 2001 when his cardiac issues became significant. He received a heart transplant in 2010, which gave him the gift of watching his three grandchildren start to grow.

Harry is survived by his wife, Anna Why of North Bend; daughter, Liann Drechsel and her husband Timothy of Roseburg; grandchildren, Sadie, Katelin and Benjamin Drechsel; sister, Susie Hutchinson and her husband Bill of North Bend; sister, Patti Ferry and her husband Mark of Springfield; sister, Kathy Lee and her husband Jon of Pleasant Hill, CA; and brother, Harold Why and his wife Sara of Sun Prairie, WI.

Harry was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Ruth Why; daughter, Aimee B. Why; and brother, Howard Why.

Memorial contributions may be sent in Harry’s honor to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 2250 16th Street, North Bend, Oregon 97459. Family and friends are encouraged to sign the online guestbook at and Arrangements are under the care of North Bend Chapel, 541-756-0440.

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