YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. - James McKell Edwin Harper, a former Yorktown Heights research scientist, died on Oct. 4 while under hospice care in Boston following a long struggle with liver disease. He was 64 years old.
Harper was born on Nov. 10, 1946 near London, England. His family emigrated to the U.S. when he was 10 years old. He graduated from the Hill School, Harvard University, Coast Guard OCS and Stanford University with a Ph.D in 1975.
He worked at the IBM Research Center in Yorktown Heights for 27 years in what became a successful career as a research scientist. Along with his colleagues, Harper authored over 250 published articles, wrote over 50 patents, earned several reputable awards and was active in two professional scientific societies.
In 2003, he became a professor at the University of New Hampshire, where he taught and conducted research for the physics department. Harper met his wife Beryl Stevens at a college sailing regatta in 1969. They were married a year later, and continued sailing together for four more decades. He liked to enjoy time outdoors with his daughters Chelsea and Jessica, spending time in the summer on the seacoast in downeast Maine. Harper also spent many years singing in church choirs and took great pleasure in the camaraderie of the bass section.
Harper is survived by his wife Beryl, his daughters Chelsea Harper and Jessica Santos and their families, along with many extended family members.
The memorial service will be Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at the Community Church of Durham in New Hampshire. Funeral arrangements by Kent & Pelczar Funeral Home in New Market, N.H. In lieu of flowers, contributions in may be sent to the Community Church of Durham, 17 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824.