Harper Lee Garrett, Jr. of Ridgewood, NJ passed away peacefully on March 20, 2021 at the age of 89. Harper was predeceased by his beloved wife of over fifty years, Ann. Harper was a devoted father to Sarah, Julia, and Harper III, and a loving Granddaddy to Thomas, Caroline, Cora and Henry.
Harper was born August 23, 1931 in Greenville, South Carolina as the only child of Harper and Louise Garrett. He attended college at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina in Charleston. Upon graduating, Harper joined the Army just as the Korean War was ending, and spent two years on active duty stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Annapolis, Maryland, where he attained the rank of Captain. He subsequently attended the University of Michigan where he received his Masters in Actuarial Mathematics and would go on to practice as an actuarial consultant for over 40 years, ultimately serving as Chief Actuary at Alexander & Alexander Consulting Group. Harper was an active contributor to his field; he was a loyal member of the Society of Actuaries for over 65 years, and also served several terms as a member of the Actuarial Standards Board.
Harper met his wife, Ann, when they were both living in New York City. Harper resided at Rainsford House and Ann lived across the street at the Henry Hill Pierce House, both single sex residences for recent college graduates which provided housing, camaraderie, and a shared commitment to giving back to the community through service. They were married in 1963 and enjoyed almost twenty years of adventures in New York City before being blessed with children beginning when Harper was 50. They subsequently moved to Ridgewood, New Jersey to raise their family, and Harper resided there for the majority of his adult life.
As someone who loved both numbers and people, Harper excelled professionally as an actuary and took great pleasure in translating mathematical concepts into layman’s terms. His skill in thinking through every possible contingency brought a level of thoughtfulness and care to his interactions that was appreciated by colleagues, friends, and neighbors alike…and made him an excellent poker player. While Harper enjoyed logic problems, chess, and a good NYTimes crossword puzzle, he was also an excellent dancer, a stylish dresser, and was often the life of the party.
His analytical mind, steadfast reliability, and dedication to helping others made him an asset to the many community organizations he was involved with throughout his life, in particular the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House in Queens, NY, where Harper was a longtime board member and loyal supporter.
Deeply spiritual, Harper was committed to his faith and active in church throughout his life, most significantly St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Ridgewood, where he served as both Junior and Senior Warden during his long tenure as a parishioner.
Harper’s full life had many varied chapters, and throughout each he left a lasting impact on those around him through his integrity, generosity, and loyalty. He will be remembered as a man of the finest character, and deeply missed by all who knew him.
Posted in: northjersey.com
Posted on: 2021-04-19
Link to original obituary: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/northjersey/obituary.aspx?n=harper-lee-garrett&pid=198350970