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Laguna loses longtime community optometrist and sports vision pioneer Dr. William Harrison

Founder of Laguna Eyes Optometry, Doctor William Dean Harrison has been a pillar of the Laguna Beach community since 1977 when his office opened on Ocean Ave. As an optometrist specializing in vision enhancement over a 53-year career, he found great joy in helping people from all walks of life, especially in the community of Laguna Beach. 

Laguna Dr Bill

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Dr. Bill Harrison

Dr. Harrison of Laguna Niguel, loving husband, father, grandfather, community optometrist, and sports vision pioneer, lost his four-year battle with squamous cell cancer on May 4, 2019. He was preceded in death by his father Stanley, his mother Hettie, and brother Gary. He is survived by his wife Linda, his children Alicia, Ryan, and Craig, and his grandchildren Nicole, Zachary, Parker, Makayla, and Ryder.

Laguna loses family

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Dr. Harrison and his family

“Dr. Bill” was born October 5, 1942 in Laredo, Texas. When he was three, his family moved to Alpaugh, Calif. He was raised in California’s Central Valley, where he held the National Junior Olympic long throw record at 13 years old, earned 13 varsity letters at Bullard High of Fresno, and spent many summers in the backcountry of Yosemite with his father. As one of the Valley’s top baseball talents in the early 1960s, he played on select teams against international competition and was recruited to play baseball on scholarship at the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently still #7 on the all-time ERA record for Cal Baseball. While at Cal, he was a member of the Pi KA fraternity and earned a Doctorate of Optometry. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and created the first optical center at the Sacramento Army Depot in 1965. 

After his military service, Doc applied his passion for optimizing visual abilities to the athletic world, beginning with professional golf and baseball. In 1971, while practicing optometry in Davis, Calif., he began working with the Kansas City Royals baseball organization and helped develop their groundbreaking Royals Baseball Academy. 

Laguna loses with daughter

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Dr. Harrison and his daughter Alicia

Dr. Bill enjoyed many honors over the years for his contributions to optometry and the sports world; however, going home to Fresno in 2012 to be inducted into the Bullard High School Baseball Hall of Fame was one of his greatest joys. He was an athlete at heart and an optometrist who loved to help others see their best and to improve the visual performance of both amateur and professional athletes. 

He enjoyed time with his grandchildren, the beauty of nature, travels with his wife – 

especially to Kauai’s Hanalei Bay. He was known by all for his big smile, creative thinking, positive outlook, and his kind, compassionate spirit. 

The Dr. William D. Harrison Memorial Fund has been created by his alma mater to continue the legacy of Dr. Bill’s pioneering and passion for Sports Vision. The fund will be used to promote and support the growth of the Sports Vision Program at the University of California Berkeley School of Optometry. This will benefit the education of optometrists and serve the athletic community.

To support the Dr. William D. Harrison Memorial Fund, go to https://give.berkeley.edu/egiving/index.cfm?fund=FN0236000 or send a check to:

Dr. William D. Harrison Memorial Fund for Sports Vision (Fund Number # FN0236000) 

Berkeley Optometry, attention: Ciel Mahoney, 397 Minor Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720