Irving Harris

Harris, Irving Carlyle.  Born in Toronto on April 27, 1924.  Died peacefully on September 13, 2014 at the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre, Toronto.  Son of the late Dr. R. I. Harris and Beatrice Ferguson.  Predeceased by brothers Bob and Don Harris.  Beloved husband of the late Peg Harris (nee Saunderson).  Father to Christopher and wife Denise Werker, Julia Huycke and husband Graeme, and Douglas and wife Iris Sokoloff.  Grandfather, "Dandy", to Peter, Eli, Isaac, Peggy, Micah and Oliver.

A veteran of WW II, wounded while serving with the 48th Highlanders in Italy, Irving spent the rest of his life determined to make the world a better place.  He is remembered for his teaching excellence in the classroom and for his skills as a leader and administrator. He began his career as a teacher in New Liskeard and Newmarket, later becoming the Principal of Newmarket High School and then District Inspector. He was instrumental in making Geography a distinct subject in Ontario, and in recognizing the key role of parents in an inclusive public education system. He had a pivotal role in the newly created Simcoe County Board of Education as Superintendent, and later as the Director of Education. 

He remained active in his retirement, volunteering with many organizations including the Women & Children’s Shelter of Barrie and several First Nation communities across Ontario. Irving was an accomplished woodworker, carver and painter who loved teaching these skills to children over many summers at Go Home Bay.

Dad was a true gentleman who had a way with people of all ages and a positive outlook on life, even with the untimely loss of his beloved Peg and the progressive deterioration of his eyesight.  He will be sadly missed by family and friends but his legacy of optimism, tenacity, compassion and courage has influenced many and will live on.

Special thanks to all the staff in K2W at Sunnybrook who provided such wonderful care for our dad over the last five months. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the CNIB or the Veterans Wing of the Sunnybrook Foundation.  Details of a Memorial service will be announced at a later date.