Katherine Kraft Harris '38

Sun, 2013-02-03 02:24 am

Katherine Kraft Harris ’39 died at Westminster Canterbury Richmond (Va.) on April 23 at the age of 93. Katie, as she was called, was born in Des Moines, Iowa and educated in the public schools there. She attended Grinnell College for her freshman year and then transferred to the University of Iowa, where she was chosen Pep Queen for 1936. She was a member of the Beta Zeta chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and earned a B.A., with a certificate in journalism, in 1938. She continued her studies in the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, where one of her professors was Douglas Southall Freeman, the well-known editor of the now-defunct Richmond (Va.) News Leader, who traveled by train to New York City once a week to teach a rigorous course that covered world history since the end of World War I. Quite fortuitously, Katie would meet and marry Dr. Freeman's wife's young cousin, Dr. William H. Harris Jr. of Richmond, within a year of graduating from Columbia. After graduation, Katie did research and publicity for Carl Byoir & Associates, the New York City public relations firm that had developed the March of Dimes campaign for President Franklin Roosevelt. She married Dr. Harris in June of 1940, and when his service in the Army Medical Corps took him to the Aleutians and then the Philippines during World War II, Katie returned home to Des Moines. She soon obtained a position with the Des Moines Register & Tribune newspapers, doing research for the Iowa Poll. After the war Katie and William settled in Richmond, where they raised three sons--Tyler, Harry, and John. Katie was an active member of numerous cultural, social, and service organizations in Richmond. She also was a successful artist, working in the media of watercolor and acrylic. In 1964 she served as the interim society editor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She was buried in Richmond's historic Hollywood Cemetery. She is survived by her three sons, all residents of Richmond; two daughters-in-law; four grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.