Obituary of Herman Harrow
Herman Harrow, our Dad, is remembered for the same things by all who knew him: He was kind, compassionate, funny, and made everyone - strangers and friends alike - feel welcome and accepted.
Mom and Dad traveled the globe and experienced all kinds of adventures, including narrowly escaping a bombing in Gaza and chasing and finally catching a pickpocket in Rome. While Mom has a stomach of steel and could down all the local fare during their foreign travels, Dad packed a supply of chocolate bars to sustain himself.
When we were toddlers, we would sit at his feet and he would sit in a down-filled armchair and read aloud all the Albert Payson Terhune books, including Lad, a Dog. Dad loved animals and had originally wanted to become a veterinarian. Dogs would always run up to him first, and he’d say to each and every one of them, “Hello Poopsie!”
He never missed a chance to dole out a compliment, such as, “This is the best meal I’ve had all day.” Amongst his favorite quips were, “Bail Him out – Don’t Bawl Him Out,” which became the title of a 1978 article he wrote for Sales & Marketing that stressed saving the face of errant employees. It was the follow-up article to one he wrote for Manage in 1969, titled, “You can Disagree Without Being Disagreeable,” that elucidated the art of civil dispute. He practiced what he preached and was one of the few people we’ve ever known who genuinely avoided speaking ill of anyone, even those who had wronged him. He was the volunteer for a shingles study conducted by the V.A. Hospital in Palo Alto for a new vaccine, and his generosity inspired him to volunteer for over a decade at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.
Dad was a women’s libber. Today he would be considered a supporter of the #MeToo Movement. He promoted his first secretary, Meg, into management and taught his daughter that she could do anything the boys could. He taught all his children to stand up for themselves and to others. Dad passed down his philosophy, as well as his compassion and kindness to all of us.
Our father was an orphan who didn’t want to be adopted. Yet, even though he never had an example of a family, he created a loving, caring one himself. He told the story of how he thought he was the pet of the director at the Hebrew National Orphanage in Yonkers, New York. Later, he discovered that all the boys thought that they, too, were his pet.
Dad received the first scholarship ever awarded by the orphanage. He achieved his undergraduate degree at Cornell University, where he majored in Industrial and Labor Relations. He later received his Master’s Degree in Business from the University of Buffalo.
He was a masterful negotiator, having served as Vice President of Industrial and Labor Relations at the Corporations of Envirotech, Fiberboard, Allegheny Airlines, Allied Mills, Welch Foods and Hooker Chemical. In his gratitude to Cornell University, he later set up The Harrow Family Scholarship Fund with our Mom, which still exists to this day in order to help others just as he was helped. Mom and Dad called moving, “Upward Mobility” and we were always told we were “going on an adventure.”
Toward the end of his days he took each of us, his three children, aside and told us how proud of us he was. He somehow made each of us feel that we were his pet.
There was a mischievous side to Dad that could be exasperating. He never stopped chattering on the tennis court and would tease his opponents so relentlessly that they might eventually become distracted enough to cause their unforced errors and his victory. Some of the time it even worked.
Dad was adored and loved by our mother, Noreen; us, his children, Susan, Jimmy and Peter. We don’t know how to fathom a world without him.
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