Janet D. Harris, 88, gardener, homemaker, collector

March 24, 2006

Janet D. Harris, a homemaker and gardener, died of pneumonia March 14 at Good Samaritan Hospital. The Glen Arm resident was 88.

She was born Muriel Janet Diekmann in Canton, Ohio, and was raised in Dundalk, where she graduated in 1935 from Sparrows Point High School.

While attending Strayer's Business College she met a young man who was studying at the Johns Hopkins University and rode the same streetcar to Baltimore each day.

Family members said he timed it so that he caught the same streetcar because he had described her as being "so cute."

In 1942, she married Benjamin L. "Doc" Harris, a chemical engineer, who later retired as technical director at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

For 50 years, until moving into the Glen Meadows retirement community in 2002, they lived at Pondsprings, their 6-acre Glen Arm farm, where Mrs. Harris enjoyed vegetable and flower gardening. She also collected antique furniture, rugs and clocks with which she furnished her home.

She was an active member of St. John's Lutheran Church, where she volunteered with the Electa Circle, Altar Guild, FISH and the church's kitchen committee.

Mrs. Harris had been a Girl Scout leader and had volunteered at the Maryland Science Center. She also drove senior citizens to doctors' appointments.

She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and had received the Lutheran Church Service to Youth Award for her volunteer work with the Boy Scouts of America.

A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. March 31 at her church, 3911 Sweet Air Road, Sweet Air.

In addition to her husband, survivors include a son, Benjamin S. Harris II of Reisterstown; four daughters, Stefanie H. Hunt of Parkville, Deborah H. Kommalan of Pasadena, Penny H. Clifton of Catonsville and Becky H. Gutin of Pikesville; a brother, Richard Diekmann of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; a sister, Lorraine Stanley of Dushore, Pa.; and 11 grandchildren.

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