More detail on this person: Samuel Young Harris, 68, of Philadelphia died on August 23, 2013, at
Pennsylvania Hospital. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer eighteen months earlier. He is
survived by his wife Celine and a stepson, Trevor-Christian Sandlin. For over forty years, Sam lived
and worked in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As an architect and structural engineer, he was dedicated
to the preservation of historic structures, and he left an indelible mark on the skyline of his
adopted home. Sam was born May 9, 1945, in Louisville, Kentucky, to Dr. and Mrs. Warren Samuel
Albert Harris. The family lived in Louisville, Baltimore, and New York City before moving to Myrtle
Beach, South Carolina, in 1955.
Sam graduated from Woodbury Forest School (Virginia), in 1963. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Amherst College in 1967, Sam earned Master of Architecture and Master of Science in Engineering degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and a law degree from the University of Maryland.
Sam's professional career began at Keast & Hood, Co. where he worked as a structural engineer on the stabilization of a number of historic properties, including the Fairmount Waterworks. Later, he worked at Venturi, Rauch & Scott Brown as an associate architect, was a founding partner at Kieran, Timberlake & Harris, and was the founder and principle of S. Harris Ltd. a preservation design firm in Philadelphia.
Sam's dedication to the advancement of historic preservation in the design community was amplified and articulated during his twenty years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching in the Department of Architecture and Historic Preservation Programs. During his tenure at Penn, he wrote and published Building Pathology, the definitive text on the subject of building deterioration, diagnostics and intervention. In 2000, Sam received the G. Holmes Perkins Award for distinguished teaching. He has also lectured and taught at several other prestigious institutions, notably as the Eero Saarinen Distinguished Professor at Yale University. Sam served on numerous historic preservation boards and panels and remained a lifelong preservation advocate and activist. One of his proudest moments came in 1994, when he was inducted into the Carpenters' Company founded in 1724.
Sam retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.S. Army Reserve after serving with distinction in the 101st Airborne. In Vietnam, as one of the fabled "Dustoff" medical evacuation helicopter pilots, Sam flew over 600 rescue missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, and multiple Air Medals for bravery under fire.
In addition to his wife and stepson, Sam is survived by his sisters Susan Edwards of Nashville, Tennessee, Laura (Gus) Phillips, Decatur, Alabama; Mary (Jon) Jenrette of St. Simon's Island, Georgia; and Martha (Joe) Castellano of Myrtle Beach; and his cousins Ellen (Chuck) White and Jim (Kathy) Harris and their son Burke Harris of Bena, Virginia. He is also survived by nieces and nephews Catherine (Phillip) Tennant, Austin (Erin) Phillips, John C. Lavin, Jr., Lauren Lavin, Harris Jenrette, Hampton Jenrette, Cooper Jenrette; great nephew Theodore Tennant and great nieces Virginia Tennant and Elle Phillips. For many years, Sam was involved with the historic preservation and stabilization of the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, in Philadelphia. A celebration of his life will be held in the Rotunda of the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site on September 24, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. A private ceremony will be held at a later date in Bena, Virginia.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in his memory be sent to the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130.
Published in The Sun News on August 29, 2013
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
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