Dr. George Stiles Harris, Jr.
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Laconia, N.H.-----Dr. George Stiles Harris, Jr.¸85, died September 18, 2008 at Ledgeview of the Taylor Community in Laconia, NH after a long period of failing health. Always known as Pete, he was born April 27, 1923 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, the son of George Stiles Harris and Anne (Smith) Harris.
Dr. Harris grew up in Upper Montclair, New Jersey and Walpole, New Hampshire and graduated from Montclair High School in the class of 1940. He attended Middlebury College and graduated from there with the class of 1944 although his years there were interrupted by service in the Army Air Corps. On June 9, 1945 he was married to Barbara Busing of Scarsdale, New York. In 1949 he graduated from the University of Rochester Medical School and served his residency in pediatrics at Yale-New Haven Hospital for three years. Called back into the service during the Korean War, he served as a 1st Lieutenant in the hospital at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Harris was a member of the American Board of Pediatrics and, moving to Gilford in 1962, joined the Laconia Clinic after nine years of private pediatric practice in Scarsdale, NY where he was also the college physician for Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. While practicing in Laconia, Pete was a member of the New England Pediatric Society where he served a term as a member of the board of directors and was a member of the New Hampshire Pediatric Society and the state and county medical societies.
Seeing the great need for mental health care in the area, Dr. Harris was a founder of the Lakes Region Mental Health Clinic in Laconia in 1966. Now known as Genesis Behavioral Health, this nonprofit mental health organization provides services to residents of all ages in twenty-four communities throughout Belknap and southern Grafton counties and is the largest provider of mental health services in the Lakes Region. He served as president of the board of directors of that clinic for several years. In 1967 he served on the advisory committee for the expansion of the Laconia Hospital at the time that it became the Lakes Region General Hospital and on the Board of Trustees and president of the medical staff. Pete also served on the building committee for the new Gilford Middle High School which opened in 1974. In 1976 Dr. Harris became the school physician at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Massachusetts, retiring from there in 1988. Since then he has lived in Sanbornton, Gilford and finally at The Taylor Community in Laconia.
For many years Pete planted large vegetable gardens in Gilford and at Oak Hill Farm, his home in Sanbornton. A member of the Winnipesaukee Yacht Club, he shared a place as crew in his Lightning sailboat with his wife and children. In 1968 he co-chaired the Atlantic Coast Championship of the Lightning Sailboat Association which brought almost one hundred Lightning sailboats to the Yacht Club and races on the Broads of Lake Winnipesaukee.
A lifelong lover of music ranging from opera to jazz, Pete studied piano, classical guitar, clarinet and tenor saxophone. He was part of several jazz combos playing the latter. The New Hampshire Music Festival played an important part in many summers of his life. He sang for many years in church choirs in the Gilford Community Church, at Northfield Mount Hermon School, in the Sanbornton Congregational Church and again in the Gilford Church where he was a member at the time of his death. He also sang for several years in the Pemigewassett Choral Society. In retirement Pete enjoyed his painting classes with Loran Percy.
Pete is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara (Busing) Harris and one brother James Harris of Cambridge, MA; by four children and their spouses: Anne and Perry Onion of Gilmanton; Martha (Pritchard) and Donald Dolben of Concord, Massachusetts; Dr. Peter B. and Louise Federspiel Harris of Newport, VT; and Ellen and Jeff Swiggett of Madison, CT. He is also survived by several cousins and ten grandchildren: Sarah, Rebecca and Joshua Onion; Zakary Pritchard; Dr.Megan Harris Batchelder, Amanda and Abigail Harris; and Kate, Tyler and Callie Swiggett. Pete was predeceased by his parents and one brother, John Smith Harris who died in 1993.
There will be no calling hours. A memorial service will be held at the Gilford Community Church at 2:00PM on October 11th. Rev. Michael Graham will officiate. Burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery in Gilford. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Genesis Behavioral Health, 111 Church St., Laconia, NH 03246 or to the Gilford Community Church, 19 Potter Hill Road, Gilford, NH 03249.
The Wilkinson-Beane Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, N.H. is in charge of the arrangements.