Long-time WPS member Bob Harris dies at 84

Bob Harris, a long-time member of the Winnipeg Philatelic Society (WPS), died on Jan. 31, about one week shy of his 85th birthday.

Harris joined the WPS in 1975—the same year as his son, Robin, who served as the society’s president from 1991-93 and as the editor of its newsletter, The Buffalo, from 1985-94 and again from 2004-06. The younger Harris is also the editor of The Canadian Philatelist, the flagship publication of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada, and the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps.

“Bob joined the WPS in 1975 and attended meetings fairly regularly and occasionally the past few years,” said WPS Treasurer Michael Zacharias. “He was also very active in school stamp clubs.”

Born in Virden, Man., on Feb. 8, 1934, Harris studied at Brandon College but also attended McMaster University Divinity School in Hamilton, Ont., and the University of Manitoba faculty of education.

He married his wife of 61 years, Beverley Tolton, in 1957.

They moved about 45 kilometres southwest from Brandon to Souris, where Harris taught high school classes for two years before moving to Wawanesa, where he was a principal for five years. He then worked for the River East School Division in several schools before his retirement from education in 1989.

In spring 2011, students at Springfield Heights nominated Harris for a Mayor’s Senior of the Year Award for his long-time commitment to serving the community. In October, he was presented with his award, this in the arts and education category, by Mayor Sam Katz.

“I was very surprised. I had no idea about it until they told me a couple weeks before I got it. That was real slick,” said Harris in 2011.

Henri Dupuis, teacher librarian at Springfield Heights, added: “He gives so freely of his time to teach and advise our students. He really is a role model to them.”

Harris was also a pastor for several churches, including Tabernacle Baptist Church and Pilgrim Baptist Church, which he served for nearly 25 years.

He was also active in the Kiwanis Club of East Kildonan since 1967.

A funeral service will be held on Feb. 16 at 2 p.m., when family and friends will gather at Glen Eden Funeral Home and Cemetery on 4477 Main St., in West St. Paul.

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