September 26, 1943 - March 4, 2020
George Randall Harker, 76, of Lahaina, passed away peacefully at Hospice Maui Hale on March 4, 2020. The family will be having a scattering service to be determined at a later date. Nakamura Mortuary will be assisting with all arrangements. George was born to William and Ellen Harker on September 26, 1943, in Redbud, Illinois. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where his family lived near Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Befriended by a park ranger named John, Harker spent hours in the park, exploring its natural beauty and learning about its animal inhabitants. George continued his interest in the natural world at Ohio State University, where he earned a BS in zoology in 1966 and an MS in biological sciences in 1968. He later called himself a "cyberspace philosopher," claiming he earned his OSU degrees in philosophy. A nonconformist throughout his life, Harker taught in the Department of Parks and Recreation at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. He married Carol Ostlund, who taught in WIU's Department of English, in 1973, and earned his Ph.D. in recreation and resource development from Texas A&M's College of Agriculture in 1974. His dissertation focused on satellite reconnaissance for flood plain planning. Although he achieved tenure at WIU, Harker claimed the dubious distinction of being fired after 21 years at the university. Always a man who marched to the tune of his unique drummer, George earned notoriety as Dr. Leisure, the guy who studied and advocated for nude beaches. Harker's dismissal from teaching marked a turning point in his life. He fought a losing battle with himself and the university for years before making a permanent move to Maui, where he found both purpose and pleasure. Fascinated by the natural beauty of the islands and committed to ensuring the well-being of the animal inhabitants there, George spent the last two decades of his life on Maui. He collected and recorded data on several native species, turning his focus to the endangered Hawaiian monk seal about ten years ago. Harker, known as "Doc" to his many friends, became a fixture on the Maui shoreline, where he walked daily to observe and record the status of monk seals, documenting their behavior and the challenges they face because of human degradation of their habitat. He shared his work with the public on his YouTube channel, DrLeisure1. George is survived by his former wife Carol Harker, siblings Allan Harker and Anne Harker, son Geoffrey Harker and his wife Amy,, and his grandchildren, Samuel and David Harker, as well as friends the world over. Mourners are encouraged to remember George Harker's devotion to the rich diversity of life on this planet and to support the well-being of all species.
George Randall Harker, 76, of Lahaina, passed away peacefully at Hospice Maui Hale on March 4, 2020. The family will be having a scattering service to be determined at a later date. Nakamura Mortuary will be assisting with all arrangements. George... View Obituary & Service Information
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