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Monday, August 15, 2011

The second time I have had to write an obituary;

Dr. Hugh A. Harter, Retired Professor Emeritus, Author and Translator
     Hugh A. Harter, of Portsmouth, NH, died Saturday afternoon August 13, 2011 at his home with the peaceful pull of the Piscataqua River outside his window to lull his passing.
     Professor Harter was born in Columbus Ohio in December of 1922, and raised there by his parents, Anthony and Georgiana (Hayes) Harter.  He received his BA cum laude in 1947 and PhD in 1959 from Ohio State University, an MA cum laude from Mexico City College, the University of the Americas in 1951 and a Doctor of Letters degree from Alma College. The latter honoring his innovations in international education. He began his teaching career while still a student himself.  He was the Andrew Mellon postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh in 1960 and 1961. He also taught at Wesleyan University, Elmira College, Chatham College and Loyola University before becoming a professor at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware where he taught from 1966 until 1984. For many of those years he served as chairman of the department of romance languages. He was also the Robert Hayward professor of modern foreign languages from 1976 to 1984. He found time to teach abroad including at the University Catolica de Santa Maria, Arequipa, Peru in 1969 and as director of academy program in Segovia, Spain from 1969-1998, serving as the director of the International Institute of Spain, where he was named professor emeritus. He lived in Segovia for years and in 1976 was made an Honorary Citizen of the city. He also taught and conducted research in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
     Professor Harter was an author in several genres and several languages and became known internationally as a scholar of Spanish and French literature. He was particularly renowned for his translations of Nobel Prize winning Spanish poets. His bilingual editions of major poetical works, Shadow of Paradise and The Diary of a Newlywed Poet by Nobel Laureate Vicete Aleixandre and Juan Ramon Jimenez are widely recognized as masterful. He translated seven novels from the French. The books he authored include Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, Tangier and All That, and more recently, Return to Patton's France, 1944's Odyssey Retraced, The Countess, which he called “a satirical novel in verse.” His most recent, a book of poetry called Flying With Nightingales was published in 2009. He co-authored and edited many other books.
     His distinguished career in education and literature was disrupted only once, for his service in World War II with the Military Intelligence 3d Army at Normandy and then the Air Transport Command. He was the recipient of medals of St. Calais, Vendome, Blois, Dombasle, Utah Beach, Avranches, and Ouzouer, as well as the medaille d'Honneur of Confedn. Europeene des Anciens Combattants, and many other awards. Hugh wrote extensively about his war experiences which affected him deeply, and returned to France for the dedication of Avenue Hugh Harter. He was also a business man, a visual artist, and an art collector. He created an original holiday card every year that he sent out to all of his loved ones, and his watercolors illustrated his favorite book, The Countess.

     Hugh would say his greatest achievement was winning the heart of his beloved wife Frances who predeceased him in 2006. Fran and Hugh traveled extensively but lived many years in New York City before retiring in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 2003, where he will be missed by many. He was predeceased by a sister. He is survived by his step-children and their families, and his many dear friends.

     Services will be held Wednesday at 1 PM at Finnerty and Stevens Funeral Home at Great Barrington, Massachusetts, where Hugh will be buried next to Fran. A memorial service will be held in Portsmouth, NH at a later date.

Here when the wind dies,
The silence grows,
Ponderous and bold,
Like growing old,
As the sunset dims
And the sea turns gold
And the silence drifts
Towards us,
Thunderous and bold,
And the waves come lapping,
Lapping, lapping at the shore.

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