Margaret "Margit" Noel Hammalian Harris, beautiful and beloved wife, mother and grandmother, passed away unexpectedly on May 13 after a brief illness surrounded by the family she adored. She was raised in Hackensack, NJ surrounded by family including her brother Steve, cousins Virginia, David and John, and aunts, uncles and grandparents. She attended Northfield Mount Herman boarding school and Connecticut College. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Rosemont College and Villanova University in the 1970's. She worked as a social worker and realtor, jobs which while very different, were deeply rewarding to her.
Margit embraced life and all of its challenges fiercely and with a grace and dignity that will be remembered now in this darkest hour and again in the days to come of laughter and priceless memories. For laughter and joy is how she would want it. An avid traveler and consummate participant in life, Margit's interests spanned cultures, continents and generations and she and Dick, her husband of 58 years, never tired of meeting new people, learning new things, trying new foods, sampling new ideas, and challenging new perspectives.
Margit and Dick's four children, Rick Harris (Pam) of Swarthmore, PA, Remsen "Rem" Harris (Sarah) of Shaker Heights, Meg Harris (Rich Vadnal), of Shaker Heights, and Noel Harris of Cleveland Heights brought her great joy. Favorite family stories almost always center around the adventures they took as a young family and the menagerie of beloved pets that accompanied them. There was never a challenge she couldn't meet or a conundrum she couldn't unravel - feeding a family of six for weeks in a tiny galley kitchen of their sailboat, rounding up the family's wayward herding dogs, birthing not one but two litters of kittens in the car on a road trip, hosting a dinner party for 50 with no power - this was the spice of life for her and the essence of happiness to nurture this family and participate in every experience, whether it be the happiest moment or saddest, with everything in between.
Seven beautiful grandchildren (Avery, Nick, Katie, Allie, Anna, Athena, Lydia) created a new dimension of joy for Margit and Dick. From the very first grandchild, whom they watched be married last year, to the youngest, all were raised knowing Margit's love and wisdom and pride in each of their accomplishments. Having family nearby meant being able to watch her grandchildren grow and participate in their lives at every point - from birth to first birthdays, first steps to graduations. Her pride in each grandchild was unsurpassed and she never missed an opportunity to tell them how proud they made her and how beautiful she found each one to be.
Margit's appreciation for design and style imbues her home with comfort and beauty that so resonated with every aspect of her life. She had great respect for handwork, from painting to embroidery, and complimented her home with exquisite treasures, each with a unique story and meaning. She was the most fashionable "Moomee" with a flair for color and a passion for style. Many a grandchild dress up session took place in the "magic closet" capped with a giggly bubble bath in the "glamour bath" Margit designed. Her kitchen was her studio where her culinary skill was unmatched. She could build a meal around one ingredient. A beautiful fresh bunch of celery resulted in a delectable rockfish salad, delicate fish balanced with sweet crunch from the pale green stalks. Her breadth of knowledge and mastery of cuisine raised everyone's expectations and appreciation for food and the quality and care with which she nourished her family. Every meal seemed effortless but was created with the finest ingredients to be savored and enjoyed over good conversation.
Margit and Dick together enjoyed a rich network of friends which have always been a vital part of their lives. Regular tennis games, dinner parties and shared meals, mah jong of late have sustained Margit through the chapters of her life. Her experiences were measured not only through her eyes but through those she shared them with. Her grace and devotion to everyone in her life will hold us up while we walk without her now but always carrying her with us. Her presence with us will be greatly missed every day but her love for all will never be forgotten.
In lieu of flowers the family prefers contributions be made in her name to: Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, 206 E. State St., Columbus, OH 43215 or to Arts Renaissance Tremont, 2592 W. 14th St., Cleveland, OH 44113.
A Memorial Service will be held at Fairmount Presbyterian Church, 2757 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Hts., OH 44118 on Friday, May 25 at 2 PM.