Burson, CA Change


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Date of Birth
Tuesday, 11 Aug 1914
Date of Death
Sunday, 8 Jun 2014 (Age 100)

Two months shy of his 100th birthday, Harry passes away peacefully June 8, 2014, Sunday afternoon. Lawrence Welk champagne music played in the background.

Harry was born in a cabin in Paonia, Colorado August 11, 1914, on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains. He was the youngest of four children. The family had little means, but he had a happy childhood. He was the first in his family to attend college, at the University of Colorado, where he received a degree in Electrical Engineering. He met his wife, Mary, in the Hiking Club at Colorado. They were married in 1942. Harry helped develop radar technology in the Navy during WWII. After the war he worked for Westinghouse Corporation, calling on utility companies throughout the Western United States for consultation and sales. In 1951 the family moved from Pennsylvania to Los Altos in the Bay Area, where he and Mary raised five children. The family lived on a small apricot farm, which Harry tended as time permitted. He raised chickens, supported two horses for his girls, and loved backpacking with family and Girls Scouts in the Sierra. During this time, Harry was a volunteer United Way organizer, helped establish the Foothills Congregational Church in Los Altos, and was active in Father’s Frolics annual theater productions. He traveled extensively in the Western United States for Westinghouse during these years and retired from Westinghouse in 1974. He liked to say he was 20 year old before he went below 4000-foot elevation, and he and Mary wanted to return to their mountain roots.

In 1974, Harry finished building a small home in Amador Pines above Pioneer, CA, where he and Mary lived for 27 years. During these “retirement years”, while Mary was Health Officer in Amador County, Harry was an officer several times in the Amador Pines Landowners Association, served several terms in the California Senior Legislature, and he was a volunteer administrator at state sponsored medical clinics in Pioneer and Plymouth for several years. He satisfied his thespian interests with many performances with the Volcano Theater. Harry helped with tax preparation for seniors with the Senior Center in the 1980s.

Perhaps Harry’s greatest legacy was his involvement in development and operation of the Amador Senior Center. He helped raise money in the community and worked with Amador County and the State to build the Senior Center. After the Center was built and completely paid for in 1985, Harry helped establish the Amador Senior Center Foundation to provide funds for operation and maintenance of the Senior Center independent of any governmental support. He served as President of the Boards of the Senior Center and the Foundation for a number of years.

In 2002, Harry and Mary moved from their home above 4000-foot elevation in Pioneer down to Jackson. When Mary developed Alzheimer’s disease and moved into Amador Residential Care, Harry was a faithful twice or thrice a day visitor for over two years before she passed away in 2007. Harry moved to assisted living at Oak Manor in 2011. In March 2013, he moved to Timber Ridge, an assisted living facility in Humboldt County to be closer to family.

Harry passed away with family at the bedside. He was the last to die of his generation in his family. His daughter, Peggy in 1998, and his wife, Mary in 2007, preceded Harry in death. His children Ted, Joe, Ruth, and Carol, twelve grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren, survive him.

In recent years, Harry loved to visit with family, friends and caregivers. Even with multiple health issues, Harry was happy, entertaining, gregarious and a reservoir of one liners and quick comebacks right up to the day before he died. He will be long remembered by his community, friends and family.

A Memorial Celebration will be held at the Amador Senior Center, Saturday August 9, 2014. Harry’s favored charities, in addition to the Amador Senior Center Foundation, are the Sierra Club and the Alzheimer’s Association. Memorial contributions in Harry’s name may be made to any of these organizations.

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