Robert James Harris, founder of Lander Veterinary Clinic, died peacefully at Covenant Village Care Center on February 21, 2015 at the age of 98.
Robert James Harris, or Bob, was the third of nine children born to Charles Lester Harris and Audre Smick Harris in Macomb, McDonough County, Illinois on January 23, 1917. He grew up on a farm in Bardolph, Illinois, and in his youth was active in 4-H and FFA. He graduated from Macomb High School (1935), and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (1941). Bob served as an air observer in the U.S. Army from July 31, 1941 to January 1, 1946 with the 188th Bn FA. He flew in Piper Cubs over enemy lines in France, Germany, and Belgium directing artillery fire. He was wounded in a plane crash but returned to action. In 1942, while on leave from Camp Roberts, Bob met Anne Lehigh in San Francisco, whom he married on October 9, 1943. They were married for 65 years. After the war, he studied veterinary medicine at Cornell University on the GI Bill, graduating in June 1950 with a DVM. Bob, Anne, and two children moved to Turlock, CA, that year, where Bob set up his veterinary practice from their home on West Main St. In 1952 he established Lander Veterinary Clinic, continuing in active practice until his retirement in 1985.
Throughout his life in Turlock he was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Turlock Rotary Club (President 1983-84), Northern San Joaquin Veterinary Medical Association (President 1955), American Association of Bovine Practitioners (President 1977), American Veterinary Medical Association, and Seniors In Retirement (SIRS).
Bob was always exploring the world around him. He loved traveling, hiking, gardening, and woodworking. He was a passionate fisherman and well-known for his homemade caramels. Bob was a devoted husband and father and a constant cheerleader for his grandchildren of whom he was very proud.
Bob is survived by a sister Ruth Eddington and his children Carol Huth (Randall), Kenneth (Hannelore), and James. He leaves five grandchildren Celia, Eric, and Annaliesa Harris, Chad Harris, and Mia Huth; three step-grandchildren Jane, Ronald, and Michael Jones; five step great-grandchildren, two step great-great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife Anne, parents Charles and Audre, and siblings Wallace, Mary Grabbe, Richard, Ralph, Alexander, Warren, and David.
A memorial service and reception will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday, March 7 at the First United Methodist Church, 1660 Arbor Ave, Turlock.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First United Methodist Church, 1660 Arbor, Turlock CA 95280, or to an FFA scholarship fund at the school of your choice.