Harris Addean Stover, 94, of Vienna, Va., passed away at his home on Jan. 30, 2019. The cause of death was colon cancer and other complications of advanced age.
Harris Addean Stover was born Oct. 15, 1924, in Grundy County, Iowa, the oldest child of Orange Addean Stover and Eliza Irene Harris Stover. His childhood was spent with his parents, three brothers and extended family in Conrad, Iowa, where he attended school. After graduating from high school, he was drafted by the United States Army for service in World War II. He entered the Army Specialized Training Program, "ASTP," for academically talented draftees and spent several months at Lake Forest College in Illinois until the program ended in 1944. He then joined the 96th Infantry Division, 383rd Infantry Regiment and participated in the battles of Leyte and Okinawa.
During the Battle of Okinawa, he and other soldiers carried wounded soldiers off Kakazu Ridge, using his raincoat. He subsequently caught pneumonia and spent several weeks on a hospital ship. Harris was in Mindoro, Philippines, awaiting the probable invasion of Japan, when World War II effectively ended with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. He then transferred to a headquarters job in the Philippines, and spent his last few weeks in the Army assisting an officer with logistical tasks. He always spoke fondly of this period of time after the war ended, and he had a particular appreciation for the Philippine Islands.
After returning home, Harris attended Iowa State University, using the GI Bill, and graduated at the top of his class with a B.S. degree in electrical engineering. After graduating, he accepted a job with Collins Radio Co. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. While working at Collins, he earned his master's and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Iowa.
During his first several years at Collins, Harris designed avionics equipment for commercial airlines. At one time, every commercial airplane that flew in the United States carried a piece of navigational equipment Harris had designed. He then transitioned to designing radio communications for the NASA space program. He, along with a team of engineers, designed radio communications systems used on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, including the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969. In 1973, Collins Radio Co. was purchased by Rockwell International, and Harris' employment with Collins ended. During his career with Collins, he was granted more than 40 United States patents, mainly for his work in commercial avionics and with the space program. Harris thoroughly enjoyed working for Collins, and always spoke very highly of its founder, Arthur Collins. He continued his friendships with many of his Collins colleagues for many, many years after he left.
Harris moved to Virginia, and in 1973 joined the Defense Communications Agency (DCA), an agency of the United States Department of Defense. He had a 22-year career with the DCA, during which he helped design communications networks for use both within the United States armed forces and between the United States military and NATO partners. He was granted a few more patents during his time with the DCA. He retired from federal service in 1995. Over his lifetime, he was granted a total of 51 patents by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office.
In Cedar Rapids, Harris met Jeanne Granzow, a music teacher in the Cedar Rapids public schools. They married in Marshalltown, Iowa, on July 24, 1954. They were married for 64 years and had one daughter.
Harris is survived by his wife, Jeanne Marie Granzow Stover, of Vienna, Va.; his daughter, Sarah Stover Jones (Brian Jones) of Annandale, Va.; his grandchildren, Caroline Grace, Aidan Michael and Mary Katherine Jones of Annandale; two brothers, Harley Stover of Conrad and Laurence Stover (LaVonne Stover) of Marshalltown; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his brother, LaVern Stover (Doris Stover) of Mansfield, Ohio.
Harris truly loved spending time with his family, and got some of his greatest enjoyment from family events.
Harris Stover was a true member of "The Greatest Generation," having grown up during the Great Depression, fought in World War II, gained an education using the GI Bill, and then contributing to the development of radio and communications systems for commercial airlines, NASA's early space program, including the Apollo 11 moon landing, and the United States military. His sharp mind and strong spirit defined him throughout his entire life, even at 94.