David L. Harper

Aug 12, 2014
David L. Harper

Rockland — David Lawrence Harper passed on peacefully to be with Jesus our Lord and Savior, on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Quarry Hill in Camden. He was surrounded by his loved ones. He will be sadly missed by his family and friends.

Born in Thomaston, Oct. 7, 1942, he was the son of Wilbert L. and Gwendolyn Eastman Harper. He attended Thomaston grade schools and graduated as valedictorian from Thomaston High School Class of 1961. He attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick for two years.

In June 1964, David enlisted in the U.S. Navy and completed basic training at the Great Lakes Training Center, Illinois, and also at the Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, Md. to become a Communication Technician Security grade, Class "A" Yeoman. He then served with the Security Group Detachment Staff in Newport, R.I. from November 1964 to August 1965. He was assigned to Naval Security Group Activity Operations at Winter Harbor, where he served until September 1967. In October 1967, he shipped out aboard the USS Georgetown, based in Norfolk, Va. The Georgetown was a sister ship to the USS Liberty. In 1967, the USS Georgetown was gathering intelligence off the coast of Eqypt, a potentially dangerous situation, under protection of the US Navy Aircraft of the Navy's Sixth Fleet. Ships of this class, (which included the USS Pueblo) were targets because of their intelligence gathering capability and were minimally armed. After several tours of duty to various parts of the world, David was honorably discharged and received several commendations and medals, including, the National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Awards. He achieved the rank of Cryptologic Administrative Petty Officer 1st Class.

Upon his return to civilian life, David was hired at Marine Colloids, Inc., in Rockland. During this time David advanced in his career, taking independent study courses in advanced chemistry at Ohio University, in Athens, and completed a degree in chemistry, as well as taking other educational courses. He worked in Research and Development on new products and applications; authored and co-authored several publications and contributed to several patents. Within the company, he was known as the "Electrophoresis and IEF Agarose Expert." He mentored junior personnel during his career contributing to their personal growth and success. He was sought after for his knowledge and spent hours explaining agarose chemistry. It was said of David: “he never tired, even when asked the same questions time and again.” His colleagues remember him for his wit, kindness, and vast knowledge. Marine Colloids, Inc. was a division of FMC Bioproducts, which then became Biowhittaker, then Cambrex Corporation and in 2007 Cambrex became a part of Lonza International Group. David left the company in 2012, as a Senior Chemist III, essentially working for the same company for more than 40 years. He retired due to health reasons, but was able to spend the last two years of his retirement at home.

David was predeceased by his wife Mary Harper in 1999, and by his father and mother, and his stepfather Roger Miller. He leaves two sisters, Joanne (Harper) Mahan and her husband Edmond of Salem, N.H., Rita (Harper) Stump of Warren, and her companion John Ware Sr., of Owls Head; two stepdaughters, Theresa Patten and her companion Robert Farrar of Morrill, Wanda Chipman of Rockland; a stepson Rick Taylor and his wife Tina of Germany; one aunt Pat Eastman of Scarborough; one niece Sherri (Brewer) Kneeland and her husband John of Salem, N.H.; three nephews, Richard Tuttle of Raynham, Mass., Stephen Tuttle of Cushing, Scott Brewer and his wife Staci of Sugar Hill, Ga.; cousins Leslie "Sunny" Eastman Russell and her husband Jesse of Freeport, Beth Eastman Bowne and her husband Jim of Scarborough, Donna Richards Brown and her husband Robert of Friendship, Stirling "Stu" Thompson and his wife Dottie of Linwood, Mass., and Robert "Bob" Haskell of Cushing; as well as great nieces, great nephews, step grandchildren and step great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 23, at 11 a.m. at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland. The Rev. Wayne Sawyer will officiate. Interment with military honors will follow at the Coughlin Memorial Cemetery, Rankin Street, Rockland.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Bob Gagnon Cancer Fund, C/O PenBay Healthcare, 22 White St., Rockland, ME 04841, or Kno-Wal-Lin Homecare and Hospice, 170 Pleasant St., Rockland, ME 04841. To share a memory or condolence with David’s family, please visit his Book of Memories at bchfh.com.

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