In Memory of a Great Mentor — and even Better Human Being

Carl B. Forkner, Ph.D.

You may know Dr. Mikel J. Harry as the co-founder and principal architect of Six Sigma, leader of the Six Sigma Management Institute, professor and benefactor to Arizona State University, and other achievements. But it is not often in this world that you may get to know someone who is a servant leader, an accomplished Marine, a brilliant and innovative mind that transcends international boundaries, a man of God, and a great human being down to their large heart. I have been fortunate to know but a few people in my lifetime that filled–or even came close to–this set of extraordinary traits together…

Over the last three years, I have had the honor and pleasure of getting to know Dr. Mikel J. Harry and his wife, Sandy. Mike was a Marine’s Marine to the end, while at the same time having a humanity about him that defies encapsulating it into a single word or phrase. He was brilliant and yet down to Earth, professional and yet feisty when appropriate.

In April of this year, I learned that Mike had passed away. It was no secret that he had Mikel J Harry celebration of life - backbeen fighting physical challenges for quite some time, but the Marine in him would not–could not–stop and surrender. Finally, the good Lord called him home and, I am sure, welcomed him with open arms. We miss him here, but he has freedom such that he has not had in many years, allowing him to continue his never-ending pursuit of knowledge, understanding, application, and–ultimately–perfection, which to him was an attainable goal if one worked at it enough.

I was honored to be able to attend the CELEBRATION OF LIFE that was held for Mike. It was a moving ceremony focused on his accomplishments in this life–but with an emphasis of his accomplishments as Mikel Harry the human being, husband, father, grandfather, and brother. The Mikel Harry who would stick around and take the time to mentor people and help them reach their goals. The man who believed in God and saw each and every day as a blessing.

There were tables set up in the back of the event which highlighted the many things Mikel did in his lifetime. I was amazed at the variety of endeavors in which he participated and excelled! Perhaps I should not have been–Mike was a man who I believe could have done just about anything he set his brilliant mind out to do. But now, he watches over his family from above, free from the Earthly physical challenges he endured, and I am sure he has his arms around his family members, comforting them when needed, encouraging them, and being part of that still, small voice that keeps them going ever onward.

Please enjoy the pictures below from the wonderful Celebration of Dr. Mikel J. Harry’s life.

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