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Randy Harris passed away


#1

Sad to say that Randy Harris, of Mel Harris & Co., died suddenly in
the Phillipines from complications following a motorcycle accident.
We don’t know exactly when it was, but around a week or ten days ago,
we gather. I never asked his age, but he was young - mid 50s…I
know that likely most people here on Orchid never heard of him, but I
also know that there are some here who have. We weren’t what you’d
call drinking buddies, but we’ve been good friends for so long I
don’t remember where or how we met in the first place. My own
personal loss is all that I really have in mind, but it’s a fact that
you all might be interested in part 2 of this posting, below:

First, let me paint a picture. Collectively we, our network, so to
speak, represent the core of jewelry manufacture in San Francisco.
There are lots of people who make jewelry, but we in our building are
the go-to people for stores and anybody who needs and wants jewelry
made up. We have casters, model makers, setters, engravers, lasers
and if we can’t do it we know who can. I know all of those people…
For instance, I made the model for Charles Schwab’s corporate pins,
and participated in their manufacture, some 20 years ago. You could
say that we, collectively, are the commercial side of things.

So. There was Gabe Sider - Sierra Pacific Casting, who was (I guess)
comparable to Race Car Jewelry. Contract casting with an emphasis on
long runs. Lately GAbe decided to retire, and good for him. The
Casting House opened up an office for a time, but they had internal
problems and had trouble competing, too. The person they had the
most trouble competing with was Randy Harris, of Mel Harris & Co. -
Mel was Randy’s father. Randy was the guy who cast anything for
anybody who just happened to knock on the door - designers, wax
workers, students, stores, amateurs. We do our own gold and silver
casting, but he did our platinum, as needed.

Now that Randy is gone, San Francisco doesn’t have a casting shop in
that sense, anymore. Well, there’s George, but let’s just say that
to know George is to love him, plus he’s into his 80s. Lots of
people have centrifuges and do their own work - but there is no
longer any place where people who DON’T cast can go - not like it
was. In other words, Randy’s passing has left a huge void in a
business sense, in addition to the person loss we all feel. Jo-Ann
and I quickly discussed changing course and stepping into that role,
but we really don’t want to.

A couple of us were talking the other day about how business has
changed, market forces have taken a lot of the punch out of our
building, and what not. So of course there are realities to be dealt
with - metals prices…

And of course someone still needs to be the right person for the
time and place, and the thing I’m talking about would require
financing to metals and what not… I’m not offerering anybody
anything - well, I’d be happy to make introductions… Just to
put the word out that San Francisco in general all of a sudden has a
need that maybe someone out there could fill to their own
advantage…

We’ll miss you, Randy…


#2
Now that Randy is gone, San Francisco doesn't have a casting shop
in that sense, anymore. Well, there's George, but let's just say
that to know George is to love him, plus he's into his 80s. Lots of
people have centrifuges and do their own work - but there is no
longer any place where people who DON'T cast can go - not like it
was. In other words, Randy's passing has left a huge void in a
business sense, in addition to the person loss we all feel.

Hi, I am Lynda Geidl, Randy’s sister and I wanted to write a quick
note to you all…What John wrote about Randy and the Mel Harris
Company is very true! It’s hard to believe our Grandfather Mel Harris
Sr. started this business in the early 1900’s. Then my father Phil
Harris and uncle Mel Harris continued the business for years until
Randy and Mark Harris carried on with the business. Later Mark’s
interest fell in other areas so he sold his share of the business to
Randy and he carried the business on. until his recent sudden death.

Randy’s brother in-law Larry has been working with him for the last
20 years. Randy worked side by side with Larry teaching him the
trade. The legend of the name may be gone but the business is still
there and running strong. Larry has gained 20 years of knowledge from
Randy. Don’t hesitate to continue to work with the Mel Harris Company
Larry is there and will continue on with the business.

As John said, “we’ll miss you Randy…”


#3

Randy Harris’ Memorial Service

This post is to notify everyone of the location, date and time of
the Memorial Service for Randy Harris of the Mel Harris Co. Please
see below:

Memorial Service Saturday December 11th at 1:00PM
Mt Diablo Unitarian Universal Church
55 Eckley Lane
Walnut Creek, CA