Raymond Michael Harmer

Mike Harmer, a long-time resident of Homer, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon, passed away peacefully.

Raymond Michael Harmer

Mike Harmer, a long-time resident of Homer, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon, passed away peacefully on Friday January 26, 2024, at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, 9 days after his 85th birthday.

Mike was born in Yakima, WA on January 17, 1939, to Gerald and Ruth (Goudy) Harmer. His early years were lived in Washington, Oregon, and California.

Known to all as Mike, he discovered his legal first name was Raymond (thanks to a recording error that switched his first and middle names on his birth certificate) when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1957. Mike retired from the Navy after serving his initial commitment and time in the Reserves, then focused on college and starting a family with long-time wife, Gwen (Stewart) Harmer.

In the 1940’s, Mike’s father helped build the Alaska Highway while working for Utah Construction Co. and was based in and around Whitehorse, Yukon. Stories of this lured Mike to Whitehorse in 1971. Gwen’s parents, Jim & Gladys Stewart, also had ties to the Yukon, being friends with Joe (Sr. and Jr.) and Goody Sparling, and connected Mike with a job as Manager of the Regina Hotel. Mike then worked for Tire Town (now the location of Fountain Tire) and eventually became an owner in the Northern Metallic Sales partnership, in charge of the Tire Town division. The best summer vacations were spent camping and fishing.

The move to Homer, AK came in 1991. Mike bought Homer Tire and started a new business called Peninsula Tire. After many years and happy customers, Mike sold the business to Alyeska Tire in 2003. The decision was heavily influenced by macular degeneration, which overtook his eyesight during the previous couple years, leaving him legally blind.

Wanting to help others facing vision loss, Mike wrote a book titled “How to Go Blind, and Not Lose Your Mind”, as well as volunteered on the board of directors of the Homer Independent Living Center. Continuing his interest in writing, Mike also managed to complete around 90% of the first draft of a murder mystery novel.

He is preceded in death by his parents Gerald “Jerry” and Ruth, and brother Richard “Dick”.

Mike is survived by his daughter Karen and husband David Reynolds of Whitehorse, YT, his son Gordon and wife Tina (Sorrows) Harmer, grandchildren Spencer and Frank, and ex-wife Gwen Harmer, all of Ferndale, WA.

The burial was held at Hickerson Memorial Cemetery with military honors. You can leave a tribute or share a memory on his online memorial service at https://www.forevermissed.com/raymond-mike-harmer. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Homer Hospice and the Independent Living Center.

Mike was well known around town for his sense of humor. He thanks you for being part of his life. He will be missed and remembered.