Richard Wheat Harris, Jr.
Richard Wheat Harris, Jr. (Dick, Hubie, Gong-Gong), passed away peacefully on August 23, 2017.
Born in Richmond, VA, Richard was the son of the late Richard Wheat Harris, Sr. and Gertrude Moncure Harris. He lived in Mauch Chunk, PA, before his family moved to Bridgeville, DE, where he attended Bridgeville School and graduated as a proud member of the class of 1954. He earned a BS in Agriculture from the University of Delaware in 1958 and an MS in Ornamental Horticulture in 1960. While at UD, he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity and Alpha Zeta Agricultural Fraternity. He later served as President of the Agricultural Alumni Association in 1972 & 1973.
He married his college sweetheart, Carolyn, in September of 1958, in Wilmington, DE. They were proud Double Dels. After remodeling a Dutch Colonial barn in Hockessin, DE, they opened a garden center and landscaping business, Barnyard Gardens, Inc. They later resided in Landenberg, PA and Newark, DE.
Dick was a Registered Landscape Architect. He was involved with Delaware Flower Shows held at the University from 1957 through the years, including the 1973 show, “Delaware: Its Art and History,” which he designed and staged in Clayton Hall. Dick, was also invited by Longwood Gardens to design an Example Garden which was exhibited and interpreted in the Azalea House.
In later years, Dick was a realtor associate with several New Castle County firms, specializing in Home and Land sales in Delaware and Chester County, PA.
He was a member of Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church for over 50 years where he was a former trustee, vice president of the cemetery corporation, and a member of the senior choir.
He was the first-born grandson of both his paternal (Harris) and maternal (Moncure) Virginia families and did extensive genealogy studies that he shared with many of his 36 first cousins at family reunions.
He enjoyed music: both listening and singing, as well as playing the piano. He liked to play by ear on the piano to entertain his friends and family. During the last few weeks of his life, his friends at Ingleside Retirement Apartments called him, “The Piano Man,” when he played for them before lunch or dinner.
He enjoyed designing scrapbooks of pictures and written accounts of people and places which interested him. He also enjoyed gardening and swimming laps in the pool at UD.
Dick is also preceded in death by his brother, Michael Moncure Harris. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn P. Harris, his daughter, Holly H. Gaul, his son, Richard Wheat Harris III (Dawn), his sister, Sallie H. Kahler (Skip), and his sister-in-law, Patricia Harris. He is also survived by his grandchildren: R. Dylan Gaul, Gabrielle R. Gaul, Richard Wheat Harris IV, and Mackenzi T. Harris, as well as one great-grandchild, Adriana M. Gaul, and several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church, 500 McKennan’s Church Road, Wilmington, DE 19808 where friends may call after 10:00 a.m. Burial will private at New London Presbyterian Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church or the Alzheimer's Assoc., Delaware Valley Chapter, 399 Market St., Suite 102, Phila. PA 19106.