Amherst Magazine
Emery Harper

 

Outline of Remarks Delivered at the Celebration of Life Service for
Emery Harper

St Bartholomew's Church, NYC, Friday, April 16, 2010

 

 

1. Introduce self, Hildegard.  From Worcester, MA, the "boondocks".

2. Only known Emery since Freshman year at Amherst; we both pledged Kappa Theta Fraternity in the Spring of 1955.  For those of you who are not familiar with Kappa Theta, it was a liberal, local fraternity which had been kicked out of its national, Delta Tau Delta, a few years earlier because the Amherst chapter had the audacity to pledge a black student.  Emery's selection of such a fraternity showed his progressive, more sensitive side even back then.  Moreover, among our fraternity brothers Emery stood out in that he projected a stature, strength, maturity unusual in college.  His election as Kappa Theta Treasurer underscored this point.  On a personal note and I probably wouldn't have admitted this as a younger man, he was one of my few Amherst classmates I truly "looked up to" in those days.

3.  After Amherst, we kept "in touch" as each of us pursued our separate lives.  In the years after law school, for me, there were periodic trips to NYC to visit my wife's sister in StuyvesantTown, and then from the mid-1970s on there were annual visits to NYC for meetings of the local committees from around the country affiliated with the Council on Foreign Relations in NYC. Periodically, during those visits we met Emery for dinner.  It was on one of those visits we went to Emery's coop and met Carrie as a little girl.

4. Then, in preparing for a visit in 1988, I learned Emory was no longer living at his coop.  Hildegard and I arranged to meet him for dinner and he told us the story.  We both immediately empathized with Emery, probably because we both admired him and trusted his judgment so much.  From then on, we made it a point to keep in closer contact with Emery, and eventually met Lui.

5. Last 20 years I have witnessed a remarkable growth in Emery: his stature, presence, ability to project himself increased while at the same time he became more loving and caring of people.  He was a man of consummate wit, intelligence, sensitivity, and frankness.  When he entered a room, others took notice; when he met and talked with people, he made them feel at ease; when faced with difficult legal and life issues, his analytical mind and sensitive approach would find a solution.  Emery was more fun, more compassionate, and the relationship between Emery and Lui deepened into one of the most profound relationships of any couple I have ever personally witnessed, whether married as in their case or otherwise. 

6. As you all know, Emery, joined by Lui, devoted untold amounts of time and energy in caring for Emory's daughter, Carrie.  The love and attention Emery and Lui expended on Carrie, and Lui continues to expend on Carrie today, has been simply beautiful to watch.

7. After Amherst, for many years I kept "in touch" with Emery.  In the past 20 years, I can honestly say I have been "touched" by Emery and by Lui and by their remarkable relationship we celebrate here today.

 Thank you, but most of all, thank you Emery and thank you Lui.

Emery W. Harper '58

Emery Walter Harper died on Oct. 26, 2009, in New York City from complications following heart surgery. “Em” came to Amherst from New Jersey, intending to prepare for the Presbyterian ministry and satisfying the language requirement in Greek. An honors graduate in economics, he served as Kappa Theta’s treasurer. Among other activities, he was on the crew team and belonged to the Harlan Fiske Stone Law Society.

He graduated from Yale Law School in 1961. Following his first marriage and a brief stint with the U.S. Air Force, Emery practiced admiralty law in Manhattan. He was a partner of Lord Day & Lord for 23 years before establishing Harper Consultants, Inc.

In addition to founding, chairing and serving on numerous committees in the legal community, Emery was a member of the Pilgrims of the United States, the Huguenot Society, the St. Nicholas Society and the Union Club. A special passion was the board of trustees of the Foundation of the Community Living Corporation for developmentally-challenged adults under whose auspices his daughter Caroline (Carrie) lives.

Emery was a man of unusual wit, intelligence, sensitivity and generosity of spirit. When he entered a room, others noticed. He put people at ease. When faced with difficult legal and life issues, his formidable analytical mind and sensitive approach would find a solution. In 1987, he and the artist Louis (Luigi) Terruso began their partnered relationship that was solemnized as soon as Connecticut opened the way to their civil union and marriage. Together, they were devoted caregivers for Carrie.

Those of us who cherished Emery’s friendship over the decades, rejoiced at the freedom he created to become ever more joyful and even more deeply loving and compassionate. And we mourn with Luigi and Carrie in their crushing loss.

—Bob Armstrong ’58
—Steve Maling ’58

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