John Edward Harkness

December 14, 1939 ~ December 7, 2020

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John Edward Harkness

Born December 14, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan. Died, December 7, 2020 in Starkville, MS. Wife and best friend: Virginia A. Harkness. Parents: Edward John and Mildred (both deceased). Brothers: David Bruce (deceased); James Robert (Tamar), Stayner, ON; Bruce Lawrence (Barbara), Dearborn, MI. Children (previous marriage, Ellen M. Schlachter): Ruth Harkness Raymer (Josiah), Andrew Edward Harkness (Kelly), Hilary Harkness Moreno (Juan), and step-daughter, Sara Sunshine Holloway (Travis). Grandchildren: Edward Andrew Harkness, Benjamin Gregory Harkness, Jonah Harkness Raymer, Elena Victoria Moreno, Evan Moreno, Juan Nicolás Moreno, El’Ora Nicole Holloway, and Luna Love Holloway.

John truly never met a stranger and was a gifted purveyor of nutty humor on a regular basis. A lover of horror films, the Sahara Desert, and local bookstores; a connoisseur of fine art, history, the Somme, poetry, dusty libraries, gourmet cooking, and exploring his hometown of Detroit—John was also steadfastly determined to protect both animal and human rights. He authored glorious instructional books for his grandkids as well as composing a comprehensive genealogy and detailed description of the Harkness family back through the 13th century. John also co-authored the first lab animal textbook. Forever loyal to family, from his children and grandchildren, to his brothers and many nieces and nephews, he never forgot a birthday. He taught those he loved to seek out the under-dog, to be polite, to ask others questions about their interests, to read as many good books as possible, and to travel the world with abandon.

He attended Redford Union Schools, graduated high school 1957. Attended (on scholarship) Rollins College, Winter Park, FL, 1957-1961: majored in Pre-medicine and English. Chosen by faculty as outstanding male graduate, overall, in 1961. Attended (on scholarship from West German government) University of Tübingen, 1961-62. Earned State of Michigan Teaching Certificate from Wayne State University (Detroit), and taught chemistry at the legendary Cass Technical High School in Detroit, 1963-65. Earned Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from Michigan State University in June of 1968. Served as professor on a Kansas State University—United States Agency for International Development (USAID) team establishing and staffing a veterinarian training degree program at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria-Samaru, Nigeria, 1968-1972. Received (1977) (1) MS degree and ACLAM Board Certification in Laboratory Animal Medicine and (2) MEd degree in Adult Higher Education from the University of Missouri, Columbia, MO. Professorial tract, faculty employment at (1) University of Missouri (1976-1977); Pennsylvania State University (1977-1984 and tenure); Mississippi State University, CVM (1984-2004 – retired as Professor Emeritus). Interim head laboratory animal vet, Columbia University, New York, NY for nine months in 2009. Received The Cohen Award, a lifetime achievement award in the field of lab animal medicine. Held several offices in national professional organizations (including presidency of two).

John was an intrepid traveler and consummate wanderer from Peru to Easter Island, China, Russia, New Zealand to Polynesia, Libya, India, Norway to Portugal, Iceland to Vatican City, South Africa, Syria to the Ivory Coast, Greece to Lichtenstein, Tanzania to Latvia, and Singapore to the Arctic Circle. He was an extraordinary man who led a tremendously full life and left memories and stories that will span many future generations of the Harkness clan.

Memorials can be sent to the Starkville Oktibbeha Library or the Starkville Arts Council. Thank you Ryland’s Caregiving Service and Welch Funeral Home.

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