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FLEXO Magazine : May 2012
“Katherine and I believe that the key to any successful endeavor—and a happy life—is education,” Ron illustrated in the FTA’s 50th Anniversary Journal. “ T hat is why we choose to support education in an industry that has been so good to us and to an association that has been one of the primary resources of our education for the past 45 years. ” “Ron and Katherine have been pillars of the printing industry,” remembers Larry Claton, FTA/FFTA board member. “ When I was investigating narrow web press manufacturers, both of them spent several hours with me sharing their insight of the industry. He was never too busy to help someone who asked for his help. Ron will be greatly missed by everyone.” In 1998, Ron was inducted into the FTA Hall of Fame. “It was the highlight of my career in flexography,” he said of the accolade. “ We all like to be recognized for our efforts. Induc- tion into FTA’s Hall of Fame is the ultimate recognition in our industry. I am very, very proud to have attained that honor.” “ Ron will be missed. Although my relationship with Ron started as simply a business relationship, it progressed to a heartfelt friendship with profes- sional admiration,” reminisced Tony Bart, FTA Hall of Fame, 1996. “ Ron helped me—as he did so many others—develop my flexo knowledge...especially in the area of anilox technology. He generously shared his insight- ful and personal knowledge as well always allowing exposure to his company ’s knowledge. His support to youngsters entertaining a career in flexography was, and is, unquestionable and so many in our industry have him to thank. At FTA, he was always an openly honest, respectfully direct contributor to the membership, leadership and his friends within the Hall of Fame. When some of us differed on issue’s he always demonstrated a gentlemanly respect for other opinions. He earned, deserved and lived up to the honor of being a member of the FTA Hall of Fame.” Personal passions were as important to Ron Harper as his professional life. In the 1980s, he served as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Mecklenburg County, and in 1995, Gov. Jim Hunt appointed Ron Harper to the North Carolina Educa- tion Fund board of directors. In 1997 Ron won the Governor’s Excellence in Workforce Development Award. The Harpers’ support for Carolinas Red Cross moved the organization to name a facility that improves response time to citizens in crisis the “Katherine Harper Disaster Staging Area. ” “I first met Ron Harper in 1970 when I was a fledgling sales- man,” recalls Joe Trungale, FTA Hall of Fame, 1985. “Ron was just starting his company, after having worked for an anilox roll manufacturer for a few years. He was a competitor, but we al- ways had a friendly relationship. Ron and Katherine contributed to our industry in many ways. They initiated projects that are now standards of our industry. Ron was a true gentleman and his voice will be missed. We have once again lost an innovator—a true contributor to our industry.” In 2008, Ron and Katherine Harper moved to Stanley, NC. The couple donated matching funds to help get an interactive Smart Board in each of 2,000 classrooms in Gaston County as well as numerous philan- thropic endeavors. The Gaston Gazette chose the Harpers for the 2010 Spirit of Freedom award and they received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine State recognition from Governor Perdue in 2010. Ron is survived by his loving, devoted wife of 60 years, Kath- erine Harper; sons Danny (Lynn), Jim (Heather), Christopher; daughters Margie (Hal) Kluttz, Georgia (Derek) Patterson; Four- teen grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Brothers Dick (Norma) Harper, Gary (Mona) Harper, Steve (Linda) Harper. “From the very first time I met Ron when I came on board with the FTA, it was apparent to me that he was one of those unique individuals who was never satisfied with the status quo,” remembers Mark Cisternino, president, FTA . “His wheels were always churning. He saw a situation, thought about how it could be improved upon, and—here’s where he is different from the majority of people—he rolled up his sleeves, got down in the trenches, and made things happen! Through his selfless dedication to helping others, Ron Harper made a very good life for himself and his family. But, more importantly, through his relentless pursuit of following ‘the golden rule’ and sharing what he had gained as a result of years of hard work, Ron succeeded in answering the most important questions that he always asked himself in self reflection, ‘Have I made a difference in this world? And have I had a substantial positive influence on someone’s life?’ He certainly achieved his life’s objective many times over and we’re all better off as a result. Rest in peace, my friend.” n “Ron and Katherine both have contributed to the industry and uniquely so, through high school and other educational programs which they ambitiously supported. His absence will be felt by the many individuals who he “helped up” during his time.” ~ Bruce Riddell, FTA Hall of Fame, 2006 “It’s a sad day for the flexo community. Ron will be missed and flexo has lost one of its biggest supporters as well as a pioneer.” ~ Howie Vreeland, FTA Hall of Fame, 2008 Katherine and Ron in Harper Corporation’s manufacturing plant, watching an anilox roll turn in a lathe. 1979 Ron and Katherine Harper present their first substantial contribution to George Parisi, former FTA president, for the FFTA Flexo Education Fund. 1990 www.flexography.org mAy 2012 FLEXO 19