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FLEXO Magazine : June 2014
Lived, Learned, Gave Remembering Katherine Harper’s Charity, Drive & Legacy O n Saturday, May 3, 2014, Katherine Harper, who with husband Ron built their namesake Harper Corpo- ration of America, passed away. She was 80. The entire flexog- raphic printing, packaging and converting community mourns the loss of Katherine, who was a devout supporter of the industry and nu- merous charitable and philanthropic endeavors. Katherine was born on Aug. 23, 1933 in Charlotte, NC to parents James and Margaret Hodges. Her childhood years were spent there, often frequenting her father’s restaurant, Jim’s Grill. In 1951, she graduated from O’Donoghue Catholic High School. That same year, she met Ron in Wilmington, NC and would go on to raise a family of five children and see grandchildren and great grandchil- dren through their decades of marriage. In 1971, Ron and Katherine founded their manufacturing company Harper Corporation of America and installed facilities in Charlotte and DePere, WI. Katherine served as president of Harper’s licensee in Bangkok, Thailand named Harper/Asia Pacific until 2006, when she retired after 36 years at the company’s helm. Katherine details the company’s early years in her book, The Longer I Live, The More I Learn. She kept her day job at Wachovia Bank while Ron worked out of the back of their home, “selling unengraved printing press rollers to customers he had been dealing with in his former jobs, taking orders and ordering the production of rollers from machine shops.” Her hard work was exemplified in the innovations she pushed forward and masterminded, her ability to solve problems and her steadfast resolve working with others. Katherine was no stranger to leadership roles in organizations, serving on and leading a number of committees and boards throughout the flexographic world. She served as chair of FTA’s Annual Forum in 1995 in Orlando, FL, “My thoughts and prayers go out to the Harper family. Katherine was truly the most generous person, along with Ron. She will truly be missed by everybody who knew her. ” – Leigh Ayers, Former Flexo in High School Program Instructor, South Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte, NC 34 FLEXO | JUNE 2014 FTA TODAY