Richard Benjamin Harrison, more commonly known as “Old Man” from Pawn Stars, has died at age 77, on June 25, 2018, according to TMZ. The sad news was announced by his son, star of Pawn Stars, Rick Harrison, who said that, “‘The Old Man’ Harrison passed away this morning surrounded by those he loved. He will be tremendously missed by our family, the team at Gold & Silver Pawn and his many fans the world over … He was my hero and I was fortunate to get a very cool ‘Old Man’ as my dad.”
Harrison’s cause of death appears to be Parkinson’s disease, as Rick Harrison wrote on Instagram, “Today I lost a friend, a father, a teacher and so much more. The Old Man lost his long battle with Parkinson’s this morning. Love you Dad. See you on the other side.”
Richard Harrison’s wife, JoAnne Rhue Harrison, is left behind along with his grown kids and grandchildren. Get to know more about JoAnne, her life with “The Old Man” and their family below.
1. The Couple Met as Teenagers
Richard and JoAnne met as teenagers at a barn dance and ODSSF reported that the two got married just after high school, in 1960. Just before the two married, Richard got into legal trouble and ended up joining the military.
JoAnne originally hails from Kernersville, North Carolina and her father, Joseph Rhue, was a county judge. Joseph Rue went on to become one of the lead attorneys for Philip Morris in North Carolina. According to Carolina Coasts Online, JoAnne and Richard would often vacation with her family in Swansboro.
JoAnne and Richard came a long way together, becoming successful in a family business. According to The History Channel, Richard left behind a net worth of $5 million, after his death.
2. They Had Four Children Together
Together, JoAnne and Richard had four children – three sons and one daughter. Their four children include Sherry Harrison, Joe Harrison, Richard Kevin Harrison and Christopher Harrison. Google lists Bachelor host Chris Harrison as one of their children, but this appears to be incorrect. JoAnne and Richard’s actual son, Chris, reportedly lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, as do many of his family members.
The couple also had several grandkids, one of whom appears on Pawn Stars as a cast member. Jennifer Lambert Harrison, Tabitha Cottingham, Corey Harrison, Adam Harrison, and Jake Harrison are JoAnne and Richards’ grandchildren.
Corey is the grandchild who stars on Pawn Stars. Upon the death of his grandfather, Richard, he posted this heartfelt message on Instagram, “I was lucky enough to spend 15 years of my life working with the old man. He wasn’t just a grandfather, he was truly a best friend as well. I’m truly blessed to have had him as a mentor. He will be missed everyday at this time we thank you for all of the kind words and we ask for privacy as we mourn his passing.”
3. JoAnne and Richard Harrison’s Daughter Died as a Child
Richard Harrison’s only daughter, Sherry Harrison, was born with Down syndrome, so Richard had re-enlisted into the Navy, in order to get benefits for Sherry’s medical expenses and care. Unfortunately, Sherry died when she was just 6 years old. She was born on December 10, 1960, as JoAnne became pregnant soon after tying the knot with Harrison.
Sherry died on May 12, 1967, according to Find A Grave. She is buried at Forest Hill Memorial Park, in Lexington, Davidson County, North Carolina.
The couple’s three sons are all alive today, but Rick Harrison, aka Richard Harrison Jr., is the only one of the sons that is a cast member on Pawn Stars.
4. Richard and JoAnne Worked Together in Real Estate
Prior to Pawn Stars fame, the Harrisons actually made careers for themselves in real estate. While Richard was still in the Navy, JoAnne attained a real estate license in 1970. She then opened her own real estate office in 1973, according to ODSSF.
After Richard was discharged from the Navy, he ended up working part-time in JoAnne’s office. Unfortunately, declining sales, as the result of high interest rates, led to immense debt and the collapse of the business in 1981.
The couple ended up in Las Vegas and went on to open a pawn shop, which is now used as the setting of Pawn Stars. Though JoAnne Rhue Harrison does not appear on Pawn Stars, she actually has a big role in the business. In fact, she is a part owner and head director of Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, which is the official Pawn Stars shop.
5. JoAnne Rhue Harrison Is the Head Director of Gold & Silver Pawn Shop
According to ODSSF, the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop was opened in 1989 by Richard and son Rick. Later on, JoAnne became a co-owner and she has been in the business for a couple decades now, just like her husband.
In 2012, as reported by Fox News, Richard was asked about the idea of retirement and his reply was, “I think retirement is overrated for anyone. Peoples (sic) asked me many times, ‘Well Richard, when are you going to retire?’ I tell them the day that I walk through that door and it’s not fun, I’ll quit. It’s still fun for me.”
Upon the death of Richard Harrison Sr., aka “The Old Man”, the Gold & Silver Pawn Facebook account posted this statement, “It is with heavy hearts that we acknowledge the passing of Richard Benjamin Harrison (known as ‘The Old Man’ to Pawn Stars fans the world over) this morning. He was surrounded by loving family this past weekend and went peacefully. The team at Gold & Silver Pawn and the Pawn Stars family is grieving his loss. He will be remembered as the best father, grandfather and great-grandfather you could have by his family and by fans as the sometimes grumpy (always loving, however), often wisecracking, and voice of absolute reason on the History television show Pawn Stars. Services are pending and the family appreciates your prayers and kind words.”