James HarperApril 18, 1930 ~ April 22, 2017 (age 87)
James Harper, 87, passed away on April 22, 2017. He was a long time resident of Schenectady. He was born on Friday April 18, 1930. His adoptive parents were Homer E. Marcley and Florence Kiltz Marcley. James was educated in the Schenectady School system and graduated around 1938 from Central Park Elementary and later in 1949 from Mont Pleasant High School. The 1949 graduating class was the largest class that the school had at the time with over 400 students. It was also the first outdoor graduation in the school’s history.
Following his graduation, James immediately enlisted in the Air Force serving a total of 4 years. He was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base for basic training. Then onto Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque New Mexico as well as some time at White Sands, New Mexico. He also served some time in 1949 in Roswell New Mexico. He was trained as a radar operator. He left service in 1952 with an honorable discharge.
Following his discharge, James was hired first as a janitor for General Electric as well as being employed as a crane follower. He then moved on to work for the NY State Dept. of Motor Vehicles as a clerk in Accident Records. He retired in 1996 after 40 years of service.
James met the love of his life, Doris at a ballroom dance venue known as Cane’s Dance Castle in downtown Schenectady. They married six months later and had two children Jim and Debra Harper.
Jame’s love of music went through many years James had lived and in the many places that he travelled. While he was stationed in Albuquerque, he helped with staging concerts at the local USO , experiencing such Big Band greats as Tommy Dorsey. It has been known to some of the family that he once placed Mr. Dorsey’s own trombone on his chair. James also danced with some of the vocalists that were with the big bands. James also had an extensive collection of 45 rpm records in his possession. Although he never played an instrument professionally he was noted as “prodigy” for piano as a small child.
James was active in both churches he attended. The first one being Albany Street Methodist and the second being Believers Church at Glenville. He was an usher at both churches as well as a deacon at Albany Street. Church and his faith were a very big part of his life. He attended many functions at both churches. Albany Street Methodist always had a Fall Festival every year and he was always there to lend a helping hand whenever it was needed. He would also participate in the “National Day of Prayer” every May in Albany outside his workplace. He has made several friends and co- workers from that event. He also participated in several “March of Jesus” events in Schenectady in the late 1990’s.
James loved his Scottish heritage and went to Scotland three times on bus trips with Wade Tours. He also would always go to the Scottish Games in Altamont NY. The Massed Bands playing” Amazing Grace” and “Scotland the Brave” were among his favorites.
James is survived by his son Jim Harper, his daughter Debra Harper, his grandson Jason Harper and his wife Amanda, his granddaughter Natasha Harper and many nieces and nephews. James was predeceased by his beloved wife Doris.
Memorial services will be held on Sunday April 30, 2017 at 4 pm at Believers Church at Glenville 304 Swaggertown Road Scotia. Interment will follow at Viewland (Cobblestone) Cemetery Schenectady.
James lived a long life and he will be sorely missed by both his friends and family.