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In Memory of Steve Harrison

A memorial service for Steve Harrison was held at the Sierra Nevada Brewery Friday morning for employees and business associates and a family service took place earlier today at the Lakeside Pavilion at California Park in Chico. I attended the service at the brewery on Friday and it was a very moving tribute to Steve’s life. There was a slide show of photos from throughout Steve’s life, from childhood playing the background during the entire service. Several of Steve’s childhood friends from where he grew up in Woodland Hills, California told stories about him when he was younger. Then family, brewery employees, and friends from the brewing community did likewise. It was really nice to hear about so many different sides of Steve and it was great seeing how many people’s live Steve touched, mine included.

There is also an online guestbook you can sign at the Chico Enterprise-Record and another one at his funeral home website.

The following obituary is posted on the website for Harrison’s funeral home:

Steve was born June 24, 1951 at Travis Air Force Base, California to Haldon and Toni Harrison. After graduating from Taft High School in Woodland Hills, California, he enrolled at California State University, Northridge. He moved to Chico in 1976 to attend Chico State University where he graduated with a degree in anthropology.

While in college, Steve became the first employee of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. He continued with the company for the next 27 years, most recently serving as Vice President. Steve’s role evolved from sales to a role blending the sales department with operations and production planning. For the past two years, Steve had been transitioning into retirement.

Steve was an avid cyclist, regularly joining friends on weekend rides throughout the North Valley, foothills, and mountains. He was a strong advocate for cycling in our community and a wonderful friend to his many cycling partners. He also enjoyed several foreign cycling trips with friends and family, most recently to Italy. He also loved to hike in Bidwell Park and the Sierra Nevadas.

Steve enjoyed a lifelong sense of curiosity and loved literature, fine films, and spirited conversation. He was devoted to the Chico community and appreciated its beauty, opportunities, and citizenry.

He was intensely interested in politics and was committed to progressive causes related to social justice, environmental sustainability, smart growth, economic opportunity, and universal health care.

Steve is survived by his loving wife, best friend, and cycling partner, Linda Zorn; his father, Haldon Harrison, of Culver City, California; his mother and step-father, Toni and Jack Gardner of Pittsburgh, PA; his brother, Hugh, sister-in-law, Annie, and niece, Nicole Haskins, of Venice, California; his sister, Kate Harrison and her partner, Jim Hendry, of Berkeley, California; and several step-siblings.

Steve enriched the lives of all those with whom he shared himself, worked, and biked. His good humor, companionship, helpfulness to others, and social commitment will be greatly missed.

Donations in his honor may be made to the Steve Harrison Fund, which will be used to promote environmental sustainability and alternative energy projects. Donations may be sent to Newton-Bracewell Chico Funeral Home of Chico, which is handling arrangements.

It’s hard to put into words the importance Steve had to the success of Sierra Nevada Brewing and the craft beer industry as a whole. He was among the early pioneers of our fledgling segment of the beer industry. He was a tireless champion of small breweries both out in front and behind the scenes, such as in his role as President of the California Small Brewers Association. He will be greatly missed. Please join me in drinking a toast to Steve’s memory this evening. Any craft beer will do, but if you can manage a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, so much the better.

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