WESTPORT, Conn. – Holton Edwin Harris, former Westport Representative Town Meeting deputy moderator and chairman of its Finance Committee, author and local business owner, died Monday, April 4. He was 92.
He was a 55-year resident of Westport.
He grew up in Shreveport, La., and graduated from both Byrd High School and The McCallie School. At the latter, he won many awards, including one later named after him, the Holton E. Harris Oratorical Medal.
He attended Georgia Tech, which his grandfather founded, for two years, then transferred to Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He graduated at the top of the MIT class of 1944, and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering. He served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in World War II in the South Pacific. He marched in the Westport Memorial Day Parade for many years.
After his schooling and military service, he worked at General Electric, the R.W. Cramer Company, Eastern Air Devices and Reeves Instrument company before opening his own electronic and manufacturing company, Harrel, Inc., which he ran successfully for more than 50 years in Norwalk. He held 17 patents.
He served on the Westport Republican Town Committee for 18 years in a number of leadership positions including chairman. In addition to his community activities, he regularly operated an amateur station with the call sign W1WP.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jeanne Deming Harris; his son, Walter D. Harris and his wife, Sonia; daughter, Dorothy (Dorrie) Harris; and two grandchildren.
He was predeceased by a brother, Walter A. Harris and sister-in-law, Mary Edna Harris, of Haddonfield, New Jersey.
A celebration of life will be held Sunday, April 17, from 2-5 p.m. at the family’s home, 5 Newtown Turnpike, Westport. A graveside service, with military honors, will be held for family only.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to The McCallie School, 500 Dodds Ave., Attn: Development Office, Chattanooga, TN 37404; or Troupers Light Opera Company, P.O. Box 859, Darien, CT 06820.
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