Lynn Gareth (Leitgeb) HarrisApril 26, 1943 ~ May 6, 2017 (age 74)
Clifton Park – My lovely wife, Lynn Gareth Harris, 74, of Clifton Park, NY, daughter of Louis and Dorothy Leitgeb, of West Sand Lake, NY, died of cancer, in our home, on May 6, 2017, with me, Covert Harris, her husband of 51 years, at her side.
Lynn graduated from the Russell Sage School of Nursing with a BS degree, and then earned a Nurse Practitioner Degree from Albany Medical College, a member of a pioneering first class which the book, “A Few Strong Women,” called the Magnificent Seven.
Over 14 years, Lynn saw patients clinically in three HMOs, which she also helped start: Whitney M. Young, in Albany, NY; Community Health Plan (CHP), in Latham, NY; and an arm of Group Health Association, in Washington, DC. Lynn went on to executive management at CHP. After CHP ceased operations, Lynn and her colleague and good friend Mary Brand started and ran Harris Brand (Physician) Recruiting, very successfully, for several years before selling the company and retiring.
For 17 years during Lynn’s career, she was a member of the committee that wrote the Annual Physician Assistant Certification exams, in Philadelphia. Lynn was the first woman and the first non-physician to chair that committee, and was the first person asked to chair it for more than one year.
Lynn and I married in 1966, in Ohio, where I finished my undergraduate degree while she worked as a registered nurse at the Ohio State University Hospital, tending to dying people. Those were the wonderful, hungry years when we ate pizza and drank beer at our favorite bar after her late evening shift. We were both born at Samaritan Hospital, in Troy in 1943; and besides living locally, and in Columbus, we resided in San Francisco; Washington DC; Fairfield, CT; and Kingston, Ontario.
Lynn’s passions, shared with me, were hiking and canoeing in the Adirondack Mountains from our camp on Friends Lake; working out at the gym; gourmet cooking; clothes shopping, especially in New York City and Palm Beach; Bordeaux wine collecting; fine dining, especially in NYC and Saint-Émilion, France; golf, keeping up online with medical progress, and reading books about neuroscience.
People who knew Lynn well discriminated a truly authentic, beautiful, intelligent, open, generous and complete woman. Lynn pledged in her forties that she would never again tell a lie, not even a white lie of convenience, and I attest that she kept that promise.
And there was a wonderful mischievous side of Lynn, which her close friends know well. How many wives would bring home from Philadelphia a paper napkin scrawled with, “Right on, Covert, Smokin’ Joe.”? She, with her friends at a nightclub after work, espied Joe Frasier sitting at a table with his girlfriend. Lynn walked over, and without consulting the champion boxer asked his girlfriend if she could dance with Joe. The woman said, “Knock yourselves out.”
Lynn is survived by me alone. We had no children, believing the planet was already overpopulated when we married. Lynn said in January, when she was diagnosed with the evil, terminal disease, that she had no regrets, other than feeling terrible about leaving me alone, since the biggest part of her life was behind her, and she felt it difficult to imagine a happier life than that which she and I shared, treating every evening and weekend as a honeymoon vacation, and loving each other to death.
There will be no service, or request for donations, and I ask that no flowers or cards be sent to me. No ornaments or words can even slightly lessen the devastating sorrow I feel.