Carmelita “Lita” Deimel Harrison passed away peacefully on March 13, 2022, at age 91. The daughter of Henry L. Deimel and Ruth Grady Deimel she was born and raised in Washington DC and had one older sister Mary Deimel Leavitt. She was a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother who devoted her time and energies to many charitable organizations and causes.
Lita met her husband Marion Edwyn Harrison II at the age of fourteen and they were married in the fall of 1952 in Washington D.C. at the Navy Chapel and later attended St. Agnes Church in Arlington. They enjoyed a wonderful, loving marriage of almost 68 years before Marion’s death in 2019. Together they raised three children and celebrated life to the fullest. Lita and Marion enjoyed entertaining and with their membership at Washington Golf and Country Club, Lita took full advantage of the wonderful activities there. They spent time at their second home in Scottsdale Arizona and in Fort Lauderdale Florida visiting family and friends. They also traveled yearly to international law schools where Marion was a lecturer with his good friend Justice Scalia and his wife Maureen. The Harrisons frequently visited Charlottesville and the University of Virginia, Marion’s alma mater, where some of their children and grandchildren attended college, medical school and graduate school. Lita’s love of family and travel resulted in family vacations to Spain, France, England and tropical landings like Costa Rica and the Virgin Island among other destinations.
Lita’s father was in the foreign service and she was exposed to world affairs early in life. After her graduation from Duke University in 1952 and studied at the Sorbonne, she continued this relationship with foreign affairs as she worked for what is now NSA. As her college studies were in foreign languages, she became fluent in Russian and helped our country’s intelligence as she translated and analyzed Russian documents. Following Marion’s graduation from George Washington Law School in 1954, the couple moved to Lyons, France where he was stationed as an Army Jag Officer. Living in the French countryside Lita continued to use her French language skills. The Harrisons returned to Arlington, Virginia in 1956 after their time in France where Marion established his law firm.
Lita would say her proudest accomplishment were her three children, who in turn gave her four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. She is survived by her daughter Angelique “Gigi” Harrison Bounds, sons M. Edwyn “Wyn” Harrison and Henry Harrison, their spouses Kevin Bounds, Karen Harrison and Olga Harrison, her four grandchildren Katherine Bounds Rock and husband Evan Rock, Harrison Bounds, Lauren Harrison and Steven Harrison and her great granddaughter Alexandra Rock.
While raising her family, Lita became involved in many volunteer and service activities. She was appointed by three governors to the Virginia State Mental Health Board. She was a founding member of the Service League of Northern Virginia where she served as President and chaired the Tiara Ball. When the Service League became the Junior League of Northern Virginia she also served as President. Lita was on the board of the Wolf Trap Center for Performing Arts. She was on the Arlington Hospital board, now the Virginia Hospital Center, for over twenty years. Lita’s interest in the development of the northern Virginia area expanded as she became a Real Estate Agent. She was one of the few with an unlisted phone number as her clientele were truly referrals only.
A memorial service will be held April 9th at 10:30 am at St. James Catholic Church followed by a reception at Washington Golf and Country Club. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Arlington Free Clinic.
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