An Encinitas Love Story

Bill Harman Encinitas Resident


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Bill Harman’s Lifetime of Service Honors our Natural World and Every Being

Bill Harman’s volunteerism spans the spectrum of environmental and social concerns here in Encinitas. After nine years as a Nature Collective board member, Bill continues to lend his time and talents as a Legacy Circle member in estate planning and monthly sustaining member. He is connected in our mission of nature for all.

Bill is proud to say he is 80 years old. He considers himself an elder, he explains, “because being an elder means having wisdom.” It’s also a bonus that this winter he’ll ski at a park in Utah that offers free skiing to those over 80.

“My wife Patti turned 80 last January—so this is going to be her second year of free skiing,” teases Bill.

As a former pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran, Bill continues his service in a global vision of stewardship from his first calling to serve.

“It’s a statement of my faith. I felt called to be a steward of the environment and climate, back in the early days of the environmental movement. In one of my first Earth Day services we celebrated the goodness of creation,” adds Bill.

Above: Bill Harman and his nephew, Daniel Howard, in San Elijo Lagoon

When Bill was encouraged to join the Nature Collective board of directors in 2010 he knew it was a great fit. From the start, he advocated reaching out to include a diversity of voices. He supported the then 20-year old organization’s growth by honoring others, including naming a Volunteer of the Year in partnership with the North County Philanthropy Council.

“A little tiny thing can grow to be a very big thing,” shares Bill in reflection of how much change he has been part of in our growth. Bill embraces change especially when it comes to reaching across the generations by inspiring everyone to be part of great things.

During his nine-year term he well remembers initial discussions about the options in the restoration of San Elijo Lagoon—and now gets to see how the tides are flowing in and out today.

“Raising funds for Harbaugh Seaside Trails was a major effort in reaching out to the community and is one of my main reasons for being on the board,” adds Bill. He has been supportive in the expansion of our vision of a world where everyone has a passion to connect with, experience, and protect nature.

Bill is a Scripps Health employee as chaplain for palliative care. He describes, “I used to volunteer at Scripps and because of that they hired me to begin a best practice palliative care team at Scripps Encinitas. So nine years later, I am still doing it!”

Bill is a Teacher Ambassador for the Grauer School, where he teaches part-time in the World Religion Class and other history and health classes. 

He is a member of the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce, and is on the board of the Encinitas Coastal Rotary Club. He also was involved in founding the Community Resource Center’s Holiday Gift Baskets program. He is a founder of the San Dieguito Interfaith Ministerial Association and its inaugural Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.  

“You think you can do anything when you’re young,” mentions Bill in the story that he and Patti took their first of two sons to Tanzania at six weeks old. “I taught in an African seminary for three years—had to do in in Swahili!” he says.

“My interest is in helping people, and to do something good for people, with people,” adds Bill. The Lutheran church asked him to develop social justice projects on a global scale. Bill shares, “I ran around Asia, India, Indonesia and Africa working with churches on health and education projects.”

“We are to be responsible of and stewards of our natural world,” says Bill. As he skis on the Utah slopes with Patti—honoring their birthdays—we honor his continuing legacy of giving forward. May the powdered slopes reward him with joy in his lifetime of service. 

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