Stanley K. Harris
Story City - Stanley Koloc Harris, DVM slipped from these earthly bonds Tuesday Morning, November 24, 2020; his soul to peacefully rest until called by his Lord.
Born on the first day of July 1934 in Bernard, Iowa to George Francis Harris and Augusta Josefa (Kolocova) Harris, respectively a Scotts-Irish carpenter and lumberyard manager and a Czechoslovakian immigrant in charge of everything else, Stan was an only child. After 14 years of marriage and aged 41 at his birth, Augusta's Edwardian sensibilities deemed the child a miracle of God.
Stan grew up with Jack Armstrong, Wheaties, and the War. His childhood was punctuated by numerous moves throughout eastern Iowa, as his father took on growing responsibilities with Great Plains Lumber Company. He had a pony named Smokey, a German shepherd, Lionel trains, and a complete collection of Red Rider comic books. He learned to play piano, and to honor his mother's heritage mastered Humoresque, No. 7 by the Czech composer Antonín Dvo?ák. Stan helped out at the lumber yards and practiced the family's Roman Catholic faith. The boy eventually matriculated through Sacred Heart School, Monticello, Iowa in 1951 and without ever having access to a chemistry lab decided to enroll in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State College the coming fall.
Eschewing the distractions of dormitory or fraternity life Stan sought the least costly housing alternatives he could find. He worked any job available to help meet his academic expenses. One summer home from college, however, Stan and his father built the house on Cedar Street in Monticello, Iowa, where his mother and father would spend the rest of their lives together. It was the only house the couple ever owned.
Completing his veterinary studies in 1957, prior to his 23rd birthday, Stan elected to pursue a career in government with the United States Department of Agriculture and was assigned a station in Salem, Oregon. The journey west to this first professional position took place in his new '57 Ford on Route 66 to Santa Monica and then north on the Pacific Coast Highway. It would be the first of hundreds of monumental, often multi-state, and many times transcontinental road trips he would make over the next six decades.
That summer at the State Department of Agriculture office, Stan met Billie Hyden and asked for a Saturday date. He shed the Ford for a cherry red MG-A convertible roadster. They married less than two years later, August 1, 1959 at St. Joseph's Parish in Salem. The pair was in their 62nd year of love and labor for the benefit and security of one another, their family, and the communities in which they lived when Stan passed.
In 1961, Stan was assigned to new responsibilities as an epidemiologist working with TB-positive cattle herds in Pennsylvania. They took up residence in Camp Hill. Across the river in Harrisburg their son was born on October 5th.
Recognizing his potential for managing administrative as well as scientific responsibilities, the USDA next tasked Stan with undertaking a 9-month multistate training program requiring brief intensive assignments in various cities and concluded with an assignment in Boston, Massachusetts where a daughter was born November 1, 1966.
The two-year assignment in New England ended just after that Christmas and the family relocated to southern Michigan where Stan took charge of all USDA veterinary activity for the lower four tiers of counties. In 1972 the USDA again resolved to invest in their employee, asking Stan to complete a master's program in Veterinary Microbiology at Texas A&M University in College Station, which he achieved in December 1973. Demonstrating remarkable scientific discipline and organizational management skills, Stan was then selected to participate in an interdepartmental foreign aid development project involving the USDA, the Department of State, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). His assignment, ultimately complicated by the Cypriot Crisis and a Congress bickering over which of two Cold-War allies to favor in the conflict, was to consult with the government of Turkey and their animal scientists to develop methodologies and practices to eradicate and prevent epidemic disease in their agricultural animal industry. In the summer of 1976 Stan was called back to the States to take the first of several roles at the National Veterinary Services Labs (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. When Stan elected to retire from government service in 1995, he was serving as director of both the Bacteriology and Virology Labs. He perfected a steady and resolute style of leadership and afforded his employees opportunities to excel. He was unanimously admired by those who worked for him as well as his colleagues. He had become an internationally recognized expert and leader in epidemiology.
With the children away from home seeking their own independence, Stan in retirement exercised his. He skied in Colorado, but eventually let the hobby go to ensure he did not injure himself and thus interfere with his love of motorcycling. Over the last three decades of his life, Stan logged thousands of hours and tens of thousands of miles on a dozen bikes of every make, style and displacement. He long favored his Harley Heritage Soft Tail and later, the Indian Scout. Stan rode everywhere in the continental US, even making it to the artic circle twice. He hit Sturgis for some 25 consecutive years.
Stan and Billie also travelled together, though not on the bike. They visited Africa, Europe, the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, and Alaska. They visited wineries and revisited national parks. They visited and hosted friends and family. Through all the years of professional assignments and travel, Stan attracted lifelong friends wherever he went. He was interested in people, marveled at their talents, and downplayed his own. He admired artists. He loved, for instance, the music of Willie Nelson and occasionally mused about how a guy could be high on grass eighteen hours every day and yet be so brilliant. Stan visited his mother's homeland twice, before and after retirement and before and after the disintegration of the Soviet Bloc. While he never cared much for leftist ideology, he did prefer the quiet and more somber tone of Prague in the '70s.
Stan was generous and charitable with his time and wallet. He picked up the tab, served as Scoutmaster, volunteered at the Story County Museum, participated in perpetual adoration of the host, supported the work of the Sisters of Saint Francis in Dubuque and both raised and contributed funds for the Veterinary Collage at Iowa State. He always tithed his Parish.
Stan was preceded in death by his mother and father and their fourteen siblings, his mother and father-in-law, Jimmie and Ralph Hyden, and his daughter-in-law Gloria Davis Harris. Stan is survived by his wife Billie F. Harris of the home, son Stanley Jr. of Saint Joseph, Missouri, daughter Sara of Ames, Iowa and grandson Stuart A. Harris of Saint Joseph.
Mass of Christian Burial 10:30 a.m. Saturday, November 28, 2020, Saint Cecelia Parish, Ames, Iowa. Please mask; the sanctuary provides ample room for social distancing. Write the family at 935 Washington Street, Story City, Iowa 50248. Memorials may be sent in honor of "Stanley K. Harris, D.V.M." to the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine or the Sisters of Saint Francis, Dubuque, Iowa. A celebration of life will be planned in 2021 upon easing of the social restrictions required by the pandemic. Arrangements via Adams & Soderstrum Funeral Home, Story City, Iowa.
Read the full Memoriam at https://www.adamssoderstrum.com/obituaries/obituary-listings
Published by Story City Herald from Nov. 27 to Dec. 2, 2020.