By Bob San
Harry Beier loved Osseo High and especially loved Orioles football, basketball and baseball. Over the years, I saw him at various games. In fact, when I walked into the Osseo gym for a basketball game, I always looked around to see if I could find him.
My most vivid and recent memories of Harry’s love for Osseo sports was his connection with the Osseo boys’ basketball team during the 2011-12 season. Harry rode the team bus with the Orioles to away games. He got to know the players well and they were like his grandkids. He always said to me that he was the team’s lucky charm. He said the Orioles won all their games except the one at Champlin Park when he missed the road trip. When the Orioles won the state championship, I had never seen Harry so happy.
Known as the Osseo Hugger, Harry would get hugs from many females he encountered. He did not hug men. When I ate lunch or breakfast with him at Lynde’s or Perkins, Harry always got a hug from the waitress there. I could still see the big smiles on Harry’s and his hugging partner’s faces when they hugged.
Harry was also a huge Gophers fans. When I was working at the U, once in a while Harry would call me and said he was attending some Gopher events and invited me to go with him. I’d tag along. I remember attending Gopher basketball/football recruiting functions and receptions for new Gopher athletic directors and coaches among others. On each occasion, Harry would always find a way to meet and greet the coaches and athletic director and get a word or two with these big shots. And he was also the Gopher Hugger because he said the wives of a lot of these big shots knew him and gave him a hug when they saw him.
Harry took me to a couple of Gopher football games and win or lose it was always a good time with Harry. For years, his season football ticket seat was on the aisle right near a door at the Metrodome and Harry would spend a whole game greeting people he knew and hugging some of the ladies. He enjoyed that probably more than the woeful Gopher games he watched for most of those years at the Dome.
The last time I met Harry was at Lynde’s in Osseo this late spring. He was talking about his beloved Orioles team winning state and how he wanted the city and school to have a parade for the team.
I called him around this past Thanksgiving and asked him how he was and he said: ‘No good’ and he apologized that he just could not get out to meet me. I had no idea that I would never see him again.
I will miss Harry. But it’s been a joy to have known him for so many years and shared so many fun moments with him. I am sure the next time I walk into the Osseo gym to watch a basketball game I will look into the stands to look for Harry. And I will always think of him whenever I go watch an Osseo basketball game or a Gopher game.
RIP Harry and keep hugging, laughing and making others smile.