Dr. Gerald  Harrell

Dr. Gerald V. Harrell

Thursday, November 1st, 1934 - Friday, January 24th, 2020
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Dr. Gerald V. Harrell, 85, of Plattsburgh, N.Y., passed away on Friday, January 24, 2020 at his home on the shores of Lake Champlain with his family by his side. For the preceding five years he had faced a progressive lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, with courage, determination and humor. Dr. Harrell was born in Forest Hills, Queens on November 1, 1934. From the age of nine, however, he lived in the North Country where he met and, on May 6, 1957, married the love of his life, Carol Mary Fitzpatrick. He opened a private optometric practice in Plattsburgh in 1964, providing vision care to thousands of North Country residents for more than 45 years. At the time of his retirement at age 75, Dr. Harrell told the Press Republican how much he had enjoyed his profession, working with his caring and talented employees, and getting to know patients from all walks of life, including many parents, their children and their children's children. Dr. Harrell was blessed with the love and support of not only his wife and children, but also that of a circle of close friends and of the Harrell and Fitzpatrick families. These included his beautiful mother, Laura Coleman Harrell (later Johnson), and Carol‘s loving parents, Philip and Carolin Fitzpatrick, who considered him to be a second son. For his part, Dr. Harrell loved Carol’s parents as though they were his own, and he and their son Dr. William F. Fitzpatrick were like brothers. Dr. Harrell graduated from Plattsburgh High School in 1952; from Union College with an B.A. degree in 1956; and first in his class from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry with B.S. (1962) and O.D. (1964) degrees. Between college and optometry school, from 1956 to 1960, Dr. Harrell proudly served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy, with assignments as a gunnery officer on board the destroyer escort U.S.S. Howard D. Crow and the destroyer U.S.S. Abbot. Throughout his adult life Dr. Harrell was actively involved in his community, including as a member of the board of directors of Hospice of the North Country, a board member of St. John’s Grade School, as president of the upstate New York chapter of the American Optometric Association, as a volunteer with the Plattsburgh Boy Scouts, and as president of the Figure Skating Club of the Adirondacks. Described by those who knew him best as a “true gentleman“ and a “kind and caring man,” Dr. Harrell had a disarming sense of humor. He loved to dance, play tennis and travel with family and friends. Dr. Harrell was predeceased by his mother Laura; his father Victor W. Harrell; his stepfather Dr. William W. Johnson; his twin brother John A. Harrell, who perished in a jet training accident; and by his and Carol’s first and fourth children, Michael Warner Harrell and Meagan Fitzpatrick Harrell, who died in infancy in 1959 and 1971. Dr. Harrell is survived by his beloved wife of almost 63 years, Carol Mary Fitzpatrick Harrell; his brother Richard C. Harrell of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida; his son Michael P. Harrell of New York City; his daughter Noelle Harrell of the Washington, DC area; and his daughter Erin L. Harrell of the San Francisco Bay area, Burial will be in the spring at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Plattsburgh. Dr. Harrell’s family suggests that those wishing to make a donation in his memory consider donating to Hospice of the North Country ( Arrangements are entrusted to Brown Funeral Home, 29 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901. Online condolences may be offered at
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Barbara Duesberg

Posted at 11:34am
I was a patient of Dr. Harrell for 27 years and worked part-time for him for 4 years. He was very professional, always respectful of others, straightforward and had a great sense of humor. I'm sure he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Carol and her family.
Barbara Duesberg

Jim Racette

Posted at 10:12am
Sorry to hear of Dr. Harrell’s passing. I remember him well- always cheerful and fun. My condolences to the Harrell family. He will be missed. -Jim Racette

Michael P. Harrell Esq. Posted at 06:03pm

Thank you Jim for your kind words. Michael

Jim Carroll

Posted at 12:06pm
As a young boy, Dr. Harrell was my Optometrist. His office was friendly and cheerful. I would often see he and Mrs. Harrell at St. John's on Sunday morning sitting on the right side of the church. I can appreciate the challenges he faced with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis since I suffered from it too. When we bought our second home in Florida in 2015, the disease began a more rapid and progressive downturn. Walking any distance was almost impossible. The coughing was awful. At age 68, I was advised to have a double lung transplant. On April 18, 2018, I had the 7 hour operation at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fl. Almost two years out, I am doing well and appreciate it as a miracle. May the good Doctor rest in peace. Jim Carroll

Michael P. Harrell Esq. Posted at 06:03pm

Jim, I’m so happy to learn of your successful lung transplant. What wonderful news. Michael

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