Dear Good Fruit Grower:
As the oldest grandchild of Arden Harris and daughter of Ardenvoir Merlin Harris, I thank you for the excellent article [February 15, 2010] on my family. I appreciated the history of the family business and wanted to pass along a few notes to round out Mr. Baule’s excellent history. My uncle Charles Meredith was known as Meredith to most people and my father as Merlin. My grandparents called all their children by their middle names except their youngest daughter Kathleen who had no middle name due to the advocacy of her siblings who protested the practice. My uncle Meredith managed the lumber business once Dad Arden, as he was known, was unable to do so. My father, Merlin, managed the fruit business. My dad was in his second year of the UW law school when war interrupted his studies. He never was able to finish as the family needed him. A younger son Robert Melvin Harris was an executive with Boise Cascade after graduating from Harvard Business School in the early 1960s and later became a mill owner himself. All are now deceased.
It might interest readers to know that the two older brothers married two sisters (Kilbourne and Margaret Hastie). After my grandfather’s death, Uncle Meredith owned the controlling interest in C.A. Harris and Son, and my father, Merlin, owned the controlling interest in Harris Orchard Company. By the 1960s, the orchard acreage was closer to 600 as the company owned or leased orchards north along the Columbia and at Manson. More recently, the Harris Orchard Company land became the property of Meredith’s daughter Barbara, although the remaining acres were just sold within the last two years.
The green Mad River box label displayed in Baule’s article was designed by my mother, Margaret Harris. A talented artist, she entered the label in an industry contest and won first place. All I can be sure of was that the contest was based in Chicago, and we were terribly proud when she won. I thank you for featuring our family. It awakened very fond memories.