Thomas S. Harrison '42
Thomas S. Harrison '42 died on Feb. 17, 2010.
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Tom Harrison died on Feb. 17, 2020, in Deer Isle, Maine, just short of his 90th birthday.
Tom came to Amherst from Indianapolis, Ind. He was a member of Phi Psi and majored in chemistry.
After graduation, he entered the U.S. Navy V-7 program and spent the next three and a half years on a destroyer in the Pacific. His ship was hit twice by kamikazes, but Tom escaped injury.
After the war, he obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry at Johns Hopkins but thought meeting and marrying his wife, Sally, in Baltimore was much more important that his advanced degree. Their marriage resulted in four children, three girls and a boy, and four grandchildren.
Tom worked for DuPont in research from 1950-53 but decided he wasn’t cut out to be a research chemist and turned to new product development. For Johnson’s Wax (1953-58), he came up with Raid, Off! and Pledge. Later, as vice president for new products of Sterling Drug, he developed Lysol Spray, Stridex, Mop ’n Glo and Wet Ones, all of which became national leaders in their markets.
By age 57, Tom was tired of the New York City rat race and commuting from New Canaan, Conn., so he and Sally moved to Deer Isle, Maine. There he pursued his love of sailing, becoming involved for some years in big and small boat racing, including two transatlantic passages. Later, he replaced racing with cruising and day sailing.
In 2002, unfortunately, Tom had a stroke and, suffering also from diabetes, he wasn’t in good health from then on. In her note telling us of Tom’s death, Sally wrote, “Amherst meant a great deal to him. We were together for 61 years, and with Tom, there was never a dull moment.”
—Ted Heisler ’42