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Thomas C. Harris, retired Buffalo teacher, founder of Friends of the Clarence Library

Aug. 22, 1932 – April 28, 2016

Thomas C. Harris of Palm Harbor, Fla., a retired Buffalo teacher and founder of the Friends of the Clarence Public Library, died last Thursday in North Florida Hospital, Tarpon Springs, Fla., after a brief illness. He was 83.

Born in Los Angeles, he came to Buffalo with his family when he was 10 and was a graduate of Lafayette High School. He served in the Air Force in Iceland and New Mexico during the Korean War and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Buffalo State College.

Mr. Harris was a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher in the Buffalo schools for 30 years, primarily at City Honors School. He retired in 1989 and moved to Florida in 1994.

In addition to founding the Friends of the Clarence Public Library, he ran its annual book sale, was president of volunteers for WNED-TV, vice president of the Bibliophile Society, and a member of the Old Time Radio Club.

He also was Sunday school superintendent for the Clarence United Methodist Church.

He enjoyed books, classical music, movies, pinochle, traveling and spending time at the family cabin.

He and his wife, the former Eva Ackerman, would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, Bernard Brady and Andrew; two daughters, Lisa VanHoff and Mary Rokhvadze; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Celebrations of his life will be held this summer.

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