One of the things I have loved about running the San Francisco Natural History series is getting to know a bunch of our audience over time. It’s been a little sad for me — since we have not been at the Randall, or had as regular of meetings — that I have not seen many of them of late.
Today, I learned in Jake Sigg’s newsletter that one of our regulars will not be returning. Lurilla Harris died Thursday, June 9th, tragically killed by a Paratransit bus shortly after she had disembarked from one (more details are linked at the bottom).
Lurilla Harris is not a person one would likely forget once you met her. She came in to the Randall with her walker, often early, with a big hat, and settled into a seat in the first row of the theater. She often came in cracking jokes as she said hello to us, the speakers, and her other friends and acquaintances among the audience. She was not shy of offering her opinion (she was active in many communities — and her voice will partially live on in the minutes of many a San Francisco community meetings), asking for more details, or just telling the speaker that they should speak up.
She might leave a little early to be on time for the bus that came to pick her up, and might on occasion fall asleep, but I was amazed by how many times she was there. It seems especially sad to me that the service that she used so often, and that brought her to our talks, was ultimately the cause of her death.
I can only hope that after 80 years (she was 86 when she died) that I will still have half her curiosity, humor, and drive to make things better.
To learn a little bit more about Lurilla, there is a little biography from an 1987 issue of the Bernal Journal of which she was an editor: Lurilla harris wears a lot of hats. The SDA also remembers her. There’s more about her death in the SF Examiner (there are more detailed accounts elsewhere, but I could not bear to post them).
She will be missed.
A memorial will be held for Lurilla on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, Noon to 2 pm, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin Street, in the Martin Luther King room.
I unfortunately will be out of the country that day, but hope some from our naturalist community make it out to help remember her.