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In Memory

Frederick Harris

 From the Boston Globe March 4, 2010

HARRIS, Frederick Augustus Jr Of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts and Largo, Florida passed away on Sunday, February 28, 2010, at the age of 92. He is survived by his wife, Joan Chalmers Harris. Born in Medford, Massachusetts, he graduated from Hingham High School and received a Bachelor of Music from Boston University College of Music and later a Master's in Education from Boston University. He was elected to the university's Hall of Fame in recognition of his prolific activities on campus Fred Harris served in World War II from 1941-1946 and rose to the rank of Major where he became the Battalion Executive Officer with the 110th Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. On March 7, 1945, he was wounded in action in Germany and spent 15 months in army hospitals. He is the recipient of two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. Fred's 41 year teaching career started as Director of Music in Dighton, Massachusetts in 1946. While in Dighton, Mr. Harris spent four summers studying conducting with the internationally renowned Pierre Monteux at his L'Ecole Monteux in Maine. In 1952, Mr. Harris became Director of Music for the Needham Public Schools until his retirement in 1977. Under his leadership, the music program burgeoned to 48 full and part-time staff and 600 instrumental students. During this time, he was director for several organizations including the ROTC Band at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the choir at the Carter Memorial Methodist Church, the Babson College Men's Glee Club and the Girl Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. He also produced and directed USO shows for U.S. troops stationed in Europe, including the "Pass in Revue" series, traveling 75,000 miles for the Armed Forces Professional Entertainment Division. In addition to his music administration, he was the director of the Needham High School Band and was an accomplished pianist and trumpeter. He sponsors the Frederick A. Harris, Jr. Music Award at Needham High School to two seniors with outstanding musical aptitude. He would recall his efforts at teaching music: "After two months of instruction, the kids join a beginner's band. That first note is a doozy. What it lacks in quality and pitch, it makes up for in enthusiasm. To a musician, it would be a disaster, but to a teacher it is the ultimate. It marks the beginning."Fred was a member and past president of the Needham Rotary Club and a member of the Rotary Club of Bourne/Sandwich, totaling 56 years as a Rotarian. Other memberships include Norfolk Lodge A.F. & A.M. Needham, Aleppo Shriners Temple Wilmington, and the Cape Cod Shrine Club. He loved boating and was a member of the Clearwater Sail and Power Squadron, as well as the Onset/Marion Flotilla 63 where he was operator and communications qualified. Fred was predeceased by his first wife of 40 years, Agnes Munro Harris, a sister Dorothy and a brother Robert.In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughters Susan S. Harris and Heather S. Harris, son William M. Harris and his wife Paula. He leaves his five grandchildren, Eric, Nicole, Morgan, Andraya, and Sawyer. He also leaves a brother William and his wife Stormy and a brother Richard and his wife Deni.There will be no visiting hours.