In memory of
Samuel Thomas Harmon
In memory of
Samuel Thomas Harmon
Samuel Thomas Harmon died on Friday, March 13th, 2020. He passed away peacefully at home in Alexandria Virginia, surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren. Sam was born in Detroit on June 28th, 1929 to Evelyn Harmon (Montgomery) and Samuel Thomas Harmon Sr. He was the eldest of nine children. While a student at Cass Technical School, Sam became a member of the Civil Air Patrol. His interest in airplanes began as a youngster when he exchanged flying lessons for washing planes at a local airfield. Many years later, in 2015, Sam received a Congressional Gold Medal for his service in the Civil Air Patrol during WWII. In 1944, at only 15, Sam joined the Navy and was eventually stationed in Yokosuka, Japan as an electronics technician. He left the military in 1952, to pursue a bachelor's degree in physics at Wayne State University. In 1954, he married Frances Tyler, also from Detroit. Together they moved to Ann Arbor so that Sam could attend the University of Michigan Graduate School of Engineering. Upon completing graduate school, Sam worked at Willow Run Laboratories and the Bendix Corporation. He later founded two companies - Sensor Dynamics and Datamax – both based on radar and signal processing patents he was awarded. Sam and Frances raised eight children in the Eberwhite and Burns Park neighborhoods. They were active in several community and political organizations including the NAACP, the Democratic Party, the United Way, and the Chamber of Commerce. In 1966, Sam became the first Chair of the Washtenaw Community College's Board of Trustees. In 1977, the Harmon family moved to Nairobi, Kenya. There, Sam worked for Harvard University's Institute for International Development as a management advisor to the Kenyan Government. He spent the next twenty years working in international development in various African countries for organizations including the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Commonwealth Development Corporation. In the nineties, Sam and three daughters founded a consulting company in Swaziland (now Eswatini) that worked on training and information systems for economic development projects in East and Southern Africa. Upon retirement, Sam and Frances moved to the Washington, DC area to be closer to family members who had settled in cities on the East Coast. Sam is survived by Frances, his wife of 66 years; and children Vivian Awumey (William), Tracey Kirksey (Clifton), Sylvia Harmon, Barbara Harmon, Dr. Catherine Toomer (Anthony), and Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Harmon (Jeffrey Daitz). His sons Samuel Harmon, Jr. and Marc Harmon, and granddaughter Naomi Harmon-Kirksey preceded him in death. Sam is also survived by grandchildren Carmen, Edgar, Lawrence, Ezra, Erin, Starhlyn, Avah, and Olivia, and five great-grandchildren. He leaves a sister Beverly Johnson, and several nieces and nephews. The family will hold a memorial service on Detroit's Belle Isle, Sam's favorite park, when such gatherings are safe. Sam was an intelligent, energetic, open-hearted, curious, adventurous, and generous man who was greatly loved by his large extended family. He touched the lives of hundreds of students, colleagues, and acquaintances in the U.S. and in Africa.
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In memory of
Samuel Thomas Harmon
Samuel Thomas Harmon died on Friday, March 13th, 2020. He passed away peacefully at home in Alexandria Virginia, surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren. Sam was born in Detroit on June 28th, 1929 to Evelyn Harmon (Montgomery) and Samuel Thomas Harmon Sr. He was the eldest of nine children. While a student at Cass Technical School, Sam became a member of the Civil Air Patrol. His interest in airplanes began as a youngster when he exchanged flying lessons for washing planes at a local airfield. Many years later, in 2015, Sam received a Congressional Gold Medal for his service in the Civil Air Patrol during WWII. In 1944, at only 15, Sam joined the Navy and was eventually stationed in Yokosuka, Japan as an electronics technician. He left the military in 1952, to pursue a bachelor's degree in physics at Wayne State University. In 1954, he married Frances Tyler, also from Detroit. Together they moved to Ann Arbor so that Sam could attend the University of Michigan Graduate School of Engineering. Upon completing graduate school, Sam worked at Willow Run Laboratories and the Bendix Corporation. He later founded two companies - Sensor Dynamics and Datamax – both based on radar and signal processing patents he was awarded. Sam and Frances raised eight children in the Eberwhite and Burns Park neighborhoods. They were active in several community and political organizations including the NAACP, the Democratic Party, the United Way, and the Chamber of Commerce. In 1966, Sam became the first Chair of the Washtenaw Community College's Board of Trustees. In 1977, the Harmon family moved to Nairobi, Kenya. There, Sam worked for Harvard University's Institute for International Development as a management advisor to the Kenyan Government. He spent the next twenty years working in international development in various African countries for organizations including the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Commonwealth Development Corporation. In the nineties, Sam and three daughters founded a consulting company in Swaziland (now Eswatini) that worked on training and information systems for economic development projects in East and Southern Africa. Upon retirement, Sam and Frances moved to the Washington, DC area to be closer to family members who had settled in cities on the East Coast. Sam is survived by Frances, his wife of 66 years; and children Vivian Awumey (William), Tracey Kirksey (Clifton), Sylvia Harmon, Barbara Harmon, Dr. Catherine Toomer (Anthony), and Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Harmon (Jeffrey Daitz). His sons Samuel Harmon, Jr. and Marc Harmon, and granddaughter Naomi Harmon-Kirksey preceded him in death. Sam is also survived by grandchildren Carmen, Edgar, Lawrence, Ezra, Erin, Starhlyn, Avah, and Olivia, and five great-grandchildren. He leaves a sister Beverly Johnson, and several nieces and nephews. The family will hold a memorial service on Detroit's Belle Isle, Sam's favorite park, when such gatherings are safe. Sam was an intelligent, energetic, open-hearted, curious, adventurous, and generous man who was greatly loved by his large extended family. He touched the lives of hundreds of students, colleagues, and acquaintances in the U.S. and in Africa.
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