Walter Reeves Harper

Date of Birth

May 27, 1920

Date of Death

May 29, 2021

City of Death

Santa Barbara, CA

Our dad, Walter Reeves Harper, was so organized he even composed his own obituary before he passed.

It has been said, “Death and Taxes come to all men” and so it was with Walter whose life ended on 05/29/2021 in the Samarkand Retirement Home in Santa Barbara, CA. He was 101 years old when he died after a long and colorful career.

Walter was born in Renfrew, Scotland. He started his education in Cambuslang (a suburb of Glasgow) and attended the Royal Technical College (now Strathclyde University) to fulfill his desire to become a confectioner. (This stood him in good stead when as the years passed he was able to bake and decorate his three daughter’s wedding cakes).

Walter joined the British Army on the third of October 1939. Churchill declared war on Germany on the same day Walter started training as a tank gunner/radio operator– there being no call for confectioners!

He underwent extensive training before being sent to Egypt to participate in the Battle of El Alamein. He recuperated in a South African field hospital in Palestine from wounds received in that battle. He later rejoined his unit (40th Bn. Royal Tank Regiment) to take part in the surrender of the German and Italian armies in Tunisia.

Walter was sent to Cadet Training in Palestine to be commissioned as a second Lieutenant in the British Army in 1941. Later as a Lieutenant he served in Italy and Greece.

He married Margaret Carter in England in 1947. They had three daughters, Wendy English (Mike, deceased) Lucy Harper (Gary Zinik), Ruth Rech (Greg) and a son Paul Harper (Jennifer Liscombe). In addition, Walter had three grandchildren, Christopher Hollander (Marianne), Alexandra Zinik, Matthew Zinik (Evan Skora) and two great grandchildren, Noah and Piper Hollander. Margaret died suddenly in Santa Barbara in January 2017.

They were married for 70 years and 1 day. After WWII, Walter, Margaret and first daughter Wendy emigrated to Canada and lived in Toronto and Montreal. Walter worked for the Canadian Defense Board and was sent to the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. From there he was offered a job with Anacapa Sciences, a company who did research for the U.S. Army and Navy. While under contract to collect field data on Naval communications, he sailed from San Diego to Pearl Harbor on a nuclear submarine.

As a sideline, Walter and his colleague Dr. D.H. Harris developed a methodology for Criminal Intelligence Analysis. Since this hadn’t been done before it was unique. Anacapa Sciences staff taught this procedure to the FBI, Scotland Yard, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Venezuela, Mexico and hundreds of state and local law enforcement agencies.

During these years Walter and Margaret cruised to many countries. They took 95 cruises in all. He was also an accomplished musician and played clarinet and saxophone in many bands and orchestras. He was a member of the Musician’s Union for 38 years.

Walter was always looking forward to rejoining Margaret in Heaven so his family are hoping that his wishes come true.


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