Cloyd "Jiggs" Harrell 1922 - 2013
Jiggs passed away from this wonderful world he loved so much on August 20, 2013, just a few weeks shy of his 91st birthday. He was a good man, devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and a true friend. Many would describe him as a real "character", someone who was always "running the show", and making others laugh. He loved the simple things in life including parades, marching bands, picnics, children, puppies, getting together with family and friends, and being active, especially dancing. Those close to him knew that he played sports as a young man and in later years became an avid fan. He loved high school and college sports as well as the home teams - the Mariners, Seahawks and Sonics. In many ways his life was like a baseball game. He played and fought hard for 9 innings and was his family's MVP.
Here's a brief "play by play" of his life:
1st Inning - Cloyd was the only player drafted by the "farm" league team of Roy & Mary Harrell in Canute, OK in 1922. He was nicknamed Jiggs in his early childhood and it stuck with him his whole life (he had a little girlfriend named Maggie and people started calling him Jiggs, from the comic strip at the time called "Maggie & Jiggs"). On the farm he became a valuable utility player and showed real patience at the plate. 2nd - His team was moved to Stayton, OR where he played several seasons and developed a huge fan base before graduating from high school in 1940. 3rd - In 1942 he was drafted by the US Navy where he was moved around in the line-up, sent on frequent road trips and played in a lot of inter-league games (including Japan and New Zealand). In 1945 the Navy put Jiggs on waivers and he was claimed by Willamette University in Salem, OR. While Jiggs was studying he still had thoughts of getting back into the game but wanted to wait until he earned his BA degree. 4th - In the top of the 4th, he was scouted by a young woman named Gerry Majeski. In 1953 she married him and signed him to a lifetime contract, which included a priceless bonus of getting to be Dad to her sweet young daughter Karen. Soon the Navy traded for him and in his first game, he popped up and wound up in the Korean War until he was designated for assignment and picked up by Nationwide Insurance. Later in the inning Jiggs became a DH and hit four game-changing RBIs - Steve, Gail, Scott and Spence. 5th - In 1965, Nationwide moved the whole team to a new stadium in Seattle, WA and Jiggs was now the lead-off hitter and Gerry the Manager. Jiggs was seeing the ball well and the five kids kept him busy running around the bases every day for many years. 6th - Sadly he was hit by a pitch when Gerry passed away from cancer in 1976 and the team was left without a Manager. 7th - All of the kids eventually grew up and moved out which left Jiggs at home alone. During the 7th inning stretch, he decided to retire from the game, got a mascot (puppy named Ruppert Jones), bought a motor home and went on the road. He still loved the game and kept his eye on the box scores every day, but didn't have to grind through the long seasons anymore. 8th - In the mid 90's Jiggs sold the motor home and settled in Edmonds, WA where he found a new group of fans at the Edmonds Senior Center. He felt like he had hit a Grand Slam, spending many hours with his new friends playing pool, cards and dancing. In 2005 he married a friend named Evelyn Mather and was happy to have a companion again after being single for so many years. In 2007 the team trainer noticed Jiggs wasn't himself some days and put him on the DL with Alzheimer's. He still loved the game but just couldn't track on all the stats anymore. In 2009 Evelyn was promoted up to heaven and Jiggs was back in the singles game. 9th - By 2012 Jiggs had forgotten the good old days when he was in the game, but he continued to dance as long as he could. He never made the All-Star Game or World Series but to his family, he was one of the greatest players to ever play the game. If Heaven has All-Stars, he's got to be one.
Jiggs is survived by his five children: Karen, Steve, Gail, Scott and Spence, 3 grandchildren and 2 great-grandsons. We will always remember him for his sense of humor and generous and loving spirit. The family expresses heartfelt thanks to the staff members from Providence Hospice and Heritage Court Assisted Living in Everett for the loving care they provided to Jiggs. A private family service was held on August 26th. Please share your memories of Jiggs with the family at www.becksfuneralhome.com. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 100 W Harrison St, N200, Seattle, WA 98119 or Edmonds Senior Center, 220 Railroad Avenue, Edmonds, WA 98020.