Richard Henry Harris|
1920 ~ 2013
Richard Henry "Dick" Harris died March 14, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah, of old age and natural causes, two weeks shy of his 93rd birthday. He was a writer, editor, and public relations consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, and Beijing, and a college professor at Utah State and San Diego State universities.
Born March 28, 1920 in Brigham City, Utah, Dick was the
youngest of five children of Henry William Shorland Harris and Adela Clark Harris. He graduated 1938 from Box Elder High School, where he played basketball and trombone, and was drum major of the band.
Dick attended Utah State Agricultural College, where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha, drove truck at the Bingham copper mine in the summertime, and met his wife-to-be Henrietta Jones of Cedar City, Utah. He graduated in 1942 with a Bachelor of Science degree, Commerce. In September 1943 - a year following a small plane crash which almost killed him - Dick married Henrietta in the LDS Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah.
In 1944, Dick enrolled at Stanford Law School, but was drafted into the Army at the end of the first term. He attended basic training at Camp Roberts, California; earned his commission at Infantry Officer Candidate School, Fort Benning, Georgia; then joined Service Company, 31st Infantry Regiment, Seoul, Korea, in occupation of the Korean Peninsula south of the 38th parallel.
In autumn 1947, Dick returned to the United States and was released from active duty. He remained active in the Army Reserve until 1964. Returning to Stanford University, in 1949 he earned a Master of Arts degree, Journalism.
Between 1950 and 1955, Dick was a news reporter with the Grass Valley Union, San Mateo Times, and San Francisco News, covering stories from conditions in the California mental hospitals, to organized crime, to the Nevada above-ground atomic bomb tests. From the mid-1950's through the early 1970's, he headed a San Francisco Bay Area public relations firm, with clients ranging from pioneering Silicon Valley electronics firms to real estate developers, political candidates, greengrocers, and the San Mateo County Fair.
In 1973, Dick joined the faculty of the Communications Department at his alma mater, now Utah State University, where he taught news reporting, magazine writing and public relations. In 1982, he moved his college professorship to San Diego State University. During his time in academe, he edited magazines for Meridian Publishing Company, Ogden, Utah; managed magazine-writing workshops for Reader's Digest; and continued his own writing career. Concentrating on his interests in aviation, golf, fitness, highway safety, and the everyday lives of people both famous and obscure, he authored articles in numerous national publications, including Reader's Digest, McCall's, Golf Today, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.
In 1991-1992, Dick worked as English language editor at Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, China, adding polish and common idiom to magazine texts and books deemed, by the Chinese government, suitable for English language publication.
Outside of work, Dick's life was centered on Henrietta and their family, physical fitness and golf, and his church, which he served most of his adult life in the capacities of Sunday School teacher, temple worker, and home teacher.
Predeceased by Henrietta, his wife of 66 years, Dick is survived by children Richard Harris Jr. of San Francisco, Sue Glenn of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Mark Harris of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Nancy Jones of Park City, Utah; 12 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.
Interment will be in Brigham City Cemetery, following a brief gravesite service, at 11 a.m., Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Friends and family are invited. Under the direction of Larkin Mortuary.
Published in Salt Lake Tribune on Mar. 17, 2013