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HARRIS, Ronald L. Of Sudbury, age 70, slipped away from us on January 29 during a brief illness. His loving wife of 45 years, Judi (Coburn) Harris, was by his side. Ron was born in Mauch Chunk, PA, attended public schools and state college in PA, and then went on to earn a PhD in chemistry from Washington University in Saint Louis. In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, he was the beloved and respected principal of the Weston Middle School. There he was both a father figure and a role model for hundreds of young people; every day was Make a Difference Day to him. In addition to his wife, Judi, Ron is survived by his twin brother, Donald Harris of Bath PA and his wife Joy, his sister Janet Ethridge of Woodbridge VA and her husband Lynn, his sisters-in-law Erica Drazen of Winchester, MA and her husband Jeff, Carole Harris of Montoursville, PA and Lisa Serfass of Kunkletown, PA, his cherished nieces and nephews, Brian, Brent, Charlotte, Dan, Dave, Dawne, Jimmy, Julie, Max, Melanie, and Michael, and one very large Alaskan Malamute, Broc. Two brothers, Raymond and Kevin Harris, and his parents, Bucky and Dolly Harris of Jim Thorpe PA, predeceased him. Donations in Rons honor may be made to Alaskan Malamute Rescue of New England, Inc., PO Box 558, Brimfield, MA 01010. Later, probably in the spring, we will gather friends for a memorial celebration of Rons life. For additional information, tributes and guest book, please visit Duckett-J. S. Waterman & Sons Sudbury, MA 978/443-5777

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Published in Boston Globe from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, 2014.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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24 entries
February 15, 2014
I will so greatly miss my wonderful Uncle Ron. You taught me so much and I am eternally grateful for your wisdom, kindness, and steadfast strength on the best and worst of days. Thank you for instilling a life long pursuit of knowledge and the desire to strive to do whatever I do, just a little better tomorrow than I did today...

Godspeed good and faithful one,
Max Acker
February 15, 2014
I have fond memories of my uncle helping to nuture my love of learning. I'll remember the dogs, swimming in their pool, him wading into the surf to land a bluefish, and enjoying garbage pizza. Most of all, I will miss him terribly. I'm glad that my children had an opportunity to know him because I know that my life is better for having him in it. I love you.
David Drazen
February 14, 2014
Ron at LowSalt cottage-in Nantucket Island in 1987.
Jeffrey Drazen
February 14, 2014
Ron at Memorial Day gathering in 1988 on Nantucket Island. The setting is Gardner MacDonald's workshop
Jeffrey Drazen
February 14, 2014
Ron as "Top Hook" in 1993. Also in this picture are Tillie and Joe Coburn (judi's parents) and a bunch of bluefish that Ron caught!
As Judi's sister's husband, I knew Ron for over 4 decades. He was a wonderful man and a friend.

Over the years we did many things together, mostly related to Nantucket Island. In the late 1980s we decided to plan for the future and to plant a hedge delineating the "back yard" of our cottage. Ron and Judi's father, Joe Coburn, planned the hedge and laid out its footprint. Joe supervised while Ron and I dug the trench. Ron was much better at it than I was and after a long weekend in October we had the foundation for the planting. At Ron's suggestion we filled in the trench with loose dirt and let it "sit" for the winter. In the spring, Ron and Joe went down to Nantucket and spent a long and very cold weekend, and planted over 150 privet bushes. Despite a hard freeze the week after they planted it, then hedge took and stands today as a tribute to his insight, tenacity and hard work.

In 1995, we built a new cottage "behind the hedge". It is a small place-one bedroom, one bath and a living space. We had been accumulating "stuff" to fill it on the mainland, and when the building was finally finished we needed to move it to the island. Ron took a Friday off of school, we rented a large U-haul and on a rainy Friday morning filled the truck with furniture and appliances and headed for Nantucket. We arrived around noon and worked virtually non-stop till dinner. Ron assembled the bed, night stands, coffee table, end tables, dining tables, and all the other stuff you need for a house. He was a whiz at these 3-D jigsaw puzzles-a task made easier by one of the world's largest socket wrench sets that he had brought down with us. We real bonded on that weekend-Ron's sense of humor and ability to "get things done right" were an inspiration to me.

During our summers not he island, Ron displayed patience and skill as a fisherman. When we went to Great Point-the island's most reliable fishing spot-I would sometimes come back with a bluefish-but Ron usually came back with one or more. His secret was that he added 20 feet to his casts by wading in the water to his belly button! He said that if you wanted to catch fish you had to get close to them-and he did. He was wet to the Plimsoll line but triumphant.

In the past few years, Ron's back made it hard for him to fish, but almost every morning he would be up at 6:00 AM and would head out to buy newspapers. Sometimes this was not easy as seasonal closings and fog conspired to prevent success-but Ron persevered. After he had read the news he would sit down with the Sudoku puzzle and every day-even Friday and Saturday when they were devilishly hard-work them out!

I will miss him. He was a lighthouse among men-a beacon of solidarity and understated humor. He was close friend and I miss him.
Jeffrey Drazen
February 13, 2014
Uncle Ron, Me, Bennett Drazen (my nephew) and Erica Drazen (my mom)
Uncle Ron was a sweet, gentle soul. He welcomed my now-wife into our family with a warmth for which I will be forever grateful.

Uncle Ron was also a man of unflappable patience. I will never forgot how cool and calm Uncle Ron was when he was teaching me to drive a stick shift on Nantucket and I accidentally shifted his Isuzu Trooper into reverse while going 50 miles per hours! I must have put 2,000 miles worth of wear and tear on his transmission after driving only 20 miles.

Uncle Ron, I will miss you and our late-night chats on Nantucket. May you rest in peace.
Dan Drazen
February 11, 2014
at times some people would say ron was too soft. but, that was not softness it was caring for the kids and the teachers. everyone who knew him realized what a kind man he was. a man who could understand the needs of the children, teachers and staff and the parents.
dave baldanza
February 10, 2014
When I met my (now) husband, I immediately fell in love with his Uncle Ron. Ron's kindness, gentleness and patience have always amazed me. He was a wonderful cook (the best pizza and lasagna!) and a dog lover (Broc and Rosie will miss him so much). I will always remember him giving a reading at our wedding, playing with his nephews and working away at his sudoku puzzles. We love you and will miss you Uncle Ron.
Emily Drazen
February 4, 2014
I fondly remember my seventh grade science teacher. I appreciate now in retrospect the care he took to motivate and care about his students in a personal way. Ron Harris was a true professional and I was lucky to have him as my teacher. Steve Castelline (Collinsville ,Al)
February 4, 2014
Ron Harris was a truly inspiring and motivating educator and I remember him fondly as my seventh grad science teacher. I was not fond of science but loved Mr. Harris's enthusiasm and energy. He pushed me to try harder and I remember him fondly.
Stephen Castelline
February 4, 2014
I remember Mr. Harris as my devoted science teacher when I was in the seventh grade. I disliked science but loved Mr. Harris and he encouraged me to do well and try harder. His dedication was truly unique and I am sorry for his loss.
Steve Castelline
February 3, 2014
Ron was many things to me and to my family. Ron, Ronaldo Harrisini (when making his famous lasagna and garbage pizza), but mostly Uncle Ron (or occasionally Crazy Uncle Ron) for my two sons and then my two grandsons. One of his unique attributes was patience. He would work for hours to help assemble a telescope and hours more helping the boys see constellations in the sky. No matter how many times the boys knocked down the blocks, he would build them back up. He would insist that they couldn't learn to ride bikes without a helmet but also insist “you can do it!.” Ron was both a gentleman and a gentle man. We miss you.
Erica Drazen
February 3, 2014
Very sad to hear of Ron's passing. He deserved a long and happy retirement, and left us much too soon.
Ron was a very steady hand for hundreds of adolescent children, my three included. I shall always be grateful to him.
Rest in peace, my friend.
Alan Lazzari
February 3, 2014
Ron was a great principle to have during middle school. Always thoughtful of others, always fair in his decisions. You will be missed..
eric kliem
February 1, 2014
An exceptional person who contributed something very good to the world. judi-take care.
kathy thrun
February 1, 2014
Ron was a friend and like a father to me. I am flooded with so many memories, such as his pizza-making workshops with the kids as he took over the kitchen every year during Art Day, letting me "Pie" him in the face in front of the whole school to introduce the year-long Clowning theme, being transformed through makeup into an elderly man (with stage makeup done by Judy Barclay) in front of the whole student body...and then staying in that character the ENTIRE DAY to help us introduce the Intergenerational Project (he was an amazing actor!),
bringing a bereft student into his office after the child had lost a pet and providing comfort on a deep personal level, faculty meetings where he was so funny and entertaining, soup and casserole lunches and the cookbook of his recipes that we created from his culinary masterpieces, always joking with my daughter Anna so she'd beg to visit him at the Middle School, the way he visited my classes and saw so much ("you know, you said "Good job" twenty times!") and how a hug from Ron and his bragging "I hired her!" to others always made me feel so special. I know that I join countless students and teachers in whose life Ron made a big difference, and I will never forget him.
Laurie Katz
February 1, 2014
I am deeply saddened at the loss of this lovely, gentle man. The suddenness of his loss is numbing. I am grateful to have last seen him at my retirement party in 2012. He looked so happy and full of life. I will remember Ron as an administrator who gave his faculty an important voice in the life of their school community. It was a never a question of ego, but always a matter of doing the right thing. His door was always open. His heart was always full.
Jane Clayton-Matthews
February 1, 2014
I count myself as blessed to have had Ron as my boss for about a decade and a half. With kindness and generosity to all, he made Weston Middle School a safe, magical, creative, exciting, and wonderful place for students and staff to live and learn. His leadership modeled the possibility of decency and goodness in human interactions. Ron, we love you and we will miss you!
Dawn Nelson
January 31, 2014
Always a true gentleman. You'll be missed, Doc. RIP.
John Condakes
January 31, 2014
Ron loved his students and staff, and they loved right back. Ron maintained a professional dignity, a personal warmth, and the ability to laugh. He encouraged his teachers to run with their ideas and trusted them to make decisions that served the best interests of their students and one another. As a result, the school was a family and growth abounded.
Ron was a good man, a smart man, but, most of all, a very human and caring man. We mourn his loss deeply.--Johanna Sweet
January 31, 2014
As a fellow science teacher, Ron always gave thought to the needs of our department. He was caring and considerate of teachers and students. I remember wonderful Friday morning breakfast meetings, and I appreciate that he hired me to teach at WMS.
JoAnn Parent
January 31, 2014
Ron was a wonderful person and friend who dedicated much of his life
to the students of Weston Middle School. I will always remember his
his kindness, incredible leadership and great sense of humor.

Janet McGrath
January 31, 2014
A very important man in my life growing up. RIP "Doc".
Tom Belason
January 30, 2014
First as a friend and the wonderful meals we enjoyed and then as the wonderful person I worked with for more than 20 years. He will always be remembered for his caring of both children and adults.
Gloria Ciappenelli
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