Harriett Jeanne Harper

Harriett Jeanne Harper

Harriett Jeanne Harper (nee, Eckel) died Tuesday, August 21st at the age of 97. As Harriett would say, she has graduated to eternal peace. Born in Anderson, Indiana, she earned her BA from Ball State University and trained art teachers in the Indianapolis Public School System. Harriett married Ray Harper in 1944 and moved to Napoleon, Ohio, where they owned the Harper Lumber Co. along with Ray's brother. While living in Ohio, she studied special art techniques at Bowling Green University.

Harriett became a well-known artist, exhibiting in one-man shows in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and California. Her paintings earned top awards in a wide variety of juried shows from the 1940s into the 1980s. Two of her paintings are owned by the US Art for Embassies Program. Harriett was written up in Whos Who Women of America, Artists of the West, and other prominent publications. She was a member of several art societies, including the Santa Barbara Art Association, having won admission on her first try. She was also a lifetime member of the Delta Phi Delta National Honorary Art Fraternity.

Besides working in water color, oils, and pastels to create lovely landscapes and still lifes, Harriett fashioned jewelry out of silver, often using gemstones her husband, Ray, cut and polished. She created objects d'art from multi-colored glass, enamel on copper, and textiles. Harriett even embroidered her clothing…. long before it became popular.

Since moving to Solvang in the early 1960s, Harriett exhibited in numerous venues including galleries in Santa Barbara, Covina, Los Angeles, Ojai, Mendocino, and Santa Ynez. Many of these were one-man shows. Although Harriett enjoyed showing her work, she gave up exhibiting in the early 1980s to devote more time to her husband. That did not stop her from indulging her passion for art, however. She continued to paint, make jewelry, and embellish much of her clothing.

Harriett is predeceased by her husband of almost 70 years, D. Ray Harper, and her sisters Helen Eckel, Marion Gebhart, and Ruth Esther Berry. She is survived by a niece, Judith (Robert) Schuster of Connecticut, and nephews James (Beverly) Harper and William (Peg) Harper, both of Florida.

A celebration of Harriett's life will be held at graveside at 2:30 PM on Thursday, August 30th, at Oak Hill Cemetery in Ballard, California.

Loper Funeral Chapel, Directors.

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