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Allen George Harris

September 6, 1932 September 16, 2009
Allen George Harris
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Obituary for Allen George Harris

Allen George �Al� Harris, age 77 of Detroit, died on September 16, 2009. He was born on September 6, 1932, and raised in Kalamazoo, the first child born to V. Ward and Ione (Simmons) Harris. He is survived by Darlene, his wife of 53 years; daughters Shaugn (Art) Kalnaraups of Dexter, Gwyn (Gordon) Koss of Milford; son Todd (Anita) Harris of Huntington Woods; five grandchildren, Alexander, Teresa, Ilze, Olivia, and Emma; brothers Phillip (Shirley) Harris, James Harris; sisters, Carolyn (Merrill) Keim, Doris (Steve) Beck and many dear friends.

Al enjoyed the outdoors. He spent a great deal of time in the woods outside of Kalamazoo in his childhood. He initiated his family to camping early on, and when introduced to the beauty of Temagami, Ontario by a colleague, he bought a cottage on the Lake which he and his family have returned to every summer for 40 years. He had many special friends there and kayaked daily, exploring the lake and photographing nature. Al also loved bird watching, keeping a life list and identifying birds wherever he traveled.

Playing competitive sports was an important part of Al�s life. He played football for Kalamazoo Central High School, and won a football scholarship to Kalamazoo College. His interest turned to other sports as he got older. In his twenties, he focused on golf. Upon hitting a hole in one at St Andrew�s in Scotland, he decided that he needed bigger challenges. He turned to basketball until his knees could no longer stand the punishment, and finally started playing tennis, which would become an obsession for much of the rest of his life. As he became older, he played numerous tournaments and was ranked nationally for his age level.

Al had a long-time love of Britain. It began when he was stationed there in the Army during the Korean War, followed by many return trips to see friends and backpack its scenic areas. He took his family with him there on sabbatical in 1971/72 when he studied at the London School of Economics.

Al met his wife, Darlene, in Paris. He was on leave from the Army, and she was touring Europe post-college. The couple returned to Paris together many times to commemorate the start of their romance. Experiencing the world through travel, often through backpacking, was a passion for Al. While working on his Master�s Degree at Western Michigan University, he was a Fulbright Scholar in India. As the years went on, Al and his wife extended their travels to more of the United States and Europe, New Zealand, parts of South America, and Southern Africa. Everywhere Al traveled, he had his camera in hand.

Al loved classical music. He and his wife Darlene held season tickets to the Detroit Symphony and Detroit Opera House for many years. He could never resist breaking into a waltz whenever he heard music in triple meter. He was devoted to the Detroit Institute of Arts Film Theater where he watched hundreds of independent and foreign films.

Mr. Harris was a well-known teacher at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, where he taught Political Science and International Relations for over forty years. Ever a dedicated political activist, he also contributed to numerous charitable and human rights causes around the world.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Mr. Harris was a generous man who gave to countless charitable and human rights causes. In the spirit of his giving, any memorials of remembrance that you would care to make in his name may be made to a charity of your choice. For further information please contact Lynch & Sons, Milford, at 248-684-6645.


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