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Robert Harper


1945 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Robert Harper Obituary
Robert "Bob" Harper, 69, of Chicago, died July 24th, 2014. Son of the late Nancy and H. Robert Harper, Bob is survived by his wife, Michelene, and a large and loving extended family. Born January 3rd, 1945, Bob grew up in Wilmette in a loving household with his late younger brother Donald (Tina), with whom he maintained an irreverent, competitive, and deeply loyal friendship. It was in childhood when Bob developed his lifelong love of outdoor sports, including skiing, sailing, and biking. After graduating from New Trier High School in 1963, Bob attended the University of Illinois to study business. Shortly after completing his undergraduate studies, he married Wendy Elliot Chance (children: Blake, Tyson, Baird), eventually settling in Winnetka. After earning his MBA from Northwestern University, Bob began working for the Chicago investment firm Stein Roe & Farnham where he served as a senior analyst and became a partner. Later, he joined Harris Associates as a founding partner, where he was the first Director of Equity Research and the first Institutional Portfolio Manager. In his 22 years at Harris, Bob was instrumental in developing the firm's early investment team and he maintained an investment record that remains a source of distinction to this day. In 1985, Bob married Donna Rook Harper (children: Brandon, Shale). With his family, he became an almost constant traveler to Aspen, CO, a place he often described as his true home. Bob's great passion in life was alpine skiing, though the time he spent in Colorado came to include all manner of mountain sports from biking to camping to whitewater rafting. As a member of the Chicago and Aspen communities, Bob gave to a variety of charities and institutions. Most notably, he coached youth hockey for many years at the Winnetka Hockey Club and sat on the Board of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. After an attempt at retirement, in 2000, Bob returned to managing investments and fostered the development of a new firm, Third River Capital Management. He served as its founding leader and portfolio manager and remained its non-executive Chairman until his death. He also served as a Board Member of the Investment Analysts Society of Chicago (now the CFA Society) and was its President in 1994-95. In 2011, Bob married Michelene Polk Harper, with whom he settled in downtown Chicago, not far from the LaSalle Street financial district in which he'd worked his entire career. In Mickie, Bob found a partner who shared his adventurous spirit. Together, they traveled to such far reaching places as Antarctica, Russia, and the Amazon. In more recent years, Bob split his time between Chicago and the Gulf Coast of Florida, not far from where his father had spent his own final years. Bob Harper was a generous and passionate man, a tireless professional, a lifelong sportsman, and a dedicated father. Besides his loving wife Michelene, Bob is survived by children Blake (Lauren), Tyson (Ayesha), Baird (Anastasia), Brandon (Catherine), and Shale, sister-in-law Tina, nephew Brennan, and grandchildren Sage, Siena, Scarlett, Quinn, Amina, Garnet, and Bon. Viewings will be held from 3-8 p.m. on Wednesday and 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Thursday at the Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home, 185 E. Northwest Hwy, Palatine. The funeral will be held on Thursday at 10:30, also at the Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home. For more information call 847-359-8020 or visit Bob's web page at www.smithcorcoran.com
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication from July 28 to July 30, 2014
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