Harold Lavern Aurand
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Harold Lavern Aurand
  • August 24, 1926 - June 14, 2017
  • Oceanside, California

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Harold was born on August 24th., 1926 in Battle Creek, Michigan to Elisabeth (Hoekstra) Aurand of Dutch heritage and Charles Aurand of French & German heritage. His father helped deliver him at home.

He was the middle child of 5. He had 1 sister and 3 brothers. (Marguerite, DeWitt, Charles Jr. and James)

As young as 10 years old, Harold enjoyed building airplanes from kits. Airplanes would be a passion of Harold's throughout his life.

In middle school, Harold played the tenor saxophone and worked as a paper boy, delivering papers even in the Michigan winter on his bike. Harold was always a dedicated, hard worker.

He also worked with his father learning wood working and construction.

He was mentored by his mother's brother, Harold Hoekstra (for whom he was named) in aeronautical interests. Harold Hoekstra was in the first graduating class in Aeronautical Engineering from The University of Michigan and he encouraged Harold to follow that career path.

Toward the end of WW2, Harold joined the Army Air Corps and was to eventually begin pilot training. He was sent to Bakersfield, California pending an opening in the pilot training program. Before he could begin, the war ended.

He returned to Battle Creek, MI and married his high school sweetheart, Jean Buckley. In 1950, Harold graduated from The University of Michigan with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering.

His uncle, Harold Hoekstra, wrote a letter of recommendation and helped him get a position with the Allison division of General Motors in Indianapolis, Indiana, working on engine test stands.

While they lived in Indianapolis, Harold and Jean had 4 daughters: Elisabeth, Susan, Jean and Mary.

About that time, Harold changed jobs to North American Aviation and moved his family to Reynoldsburg, Ohio. He and Jean had their 5th child, a son, David.

The family then moved to Worthington, Ohio and started attending a new church. There, Jean befriended Susan Morris, who had recently lost her husband and had 2 young children, Paul and Jennifer. Jean talked to Harold about Susan, and said, "If I were a guy, I would go for her". Not long afterwards, Jean was diagnosed with Leukemia and died within a few days of a brain hemorrhage.

Harold asked the pastor of the church if it would be ok to talk with Susan Morris as someone he could discuss the struggles of being a single parent with children.

When he came to visit, Susan made an apple pie and served coffee - they talked about losing their spouses and quickly became friends.

In August, 1968, Harold and Susan married and began the process of putting their blended family together. Eventually, they decided they needed to raise a child together from the beginning and they had a daughter, Michelle.

In 1980, after enduring 2 devastating Ohio winters, and uncertainty with his current company, Harold moved his wife and daughter Michelle to southern California. All the other children were adults and living on their own by this time.

Harold started working for Rockwell International on the Global Positioning System (GPS) for the B1 for a number of years. Then he moved to Northrop Grumman and worked on the GPS for the B2. After which he retired.

During all this time, Harold was a faithful, practicing Christian. He was an elder with the Presbyterian church. Harold and Susan also spent many years studying and teaching bible classes.

Last year, for his 90th birthday, his family held a surprise party with 40 people in attendance at the Midway Museum in San Diego, CA. This event was filled with a great outpouring of love and was an indication of how much he meant to our family.

We will miss him.