Robert J. Harmon, M.D. (1946-2006)

Robert J. Harmon, M.D. (1946-2006)

I N M E M O R I A M Robert J. Harmon, M.D. (1946Y2006) On February 24, while attending the Annual Meeting of the American College of Psychiatrists, B...

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I N M E M O R I A M

Robert J. Harmon, M.D. (1946Y2006) On February 24, while attending the Annual Meeting of the American College of Psychiatrists, Bob Harmon suddenly died. His death left a tremendous void for many of us who had watched the full personal and profession maturation of this man over the past decade. He was fulfilled as a husband and father, an infant and child psychiatrist, a leader in academic medicine, an addiction psychiatrist, and a special friend. At his memorial service, both national and Colorado leaders came to pay their respect. Nationally, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry was represented by Drs. Anders, Schowalter, and Leventhal. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology was represented by its Executive Vice President Dr. Scheiber. Our Departmental Chair, Dr. Freedman, represented the University of Colorado. At the time of his death, Bob Harmon was Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of our new Center for Dependency, Addiction, and Rehabilitation (CeDAR). During the past 20 years, my relationship with Bob Harmon was one of my most meaningful, both personally and professionally. He modeled commitment, trust, and hard work. He cared so deeply about many things: parents mourning the loss of their infants, his Harris Fellows for Infant Psychiatry, and his recovering addicted patients. His memorial service was given special meaning by the reading of letters from his wife, Darlene, and children, Jaeda and Ian. In her BEulogy to Bob,[ Darlene wrote: BBob lived his life giving 150% to whatever he was doing. In his nearly 60 years, he did more than most could have accomplished in ninety. With this intensity, he had a heart that felt so deeply, at times too deeply for his own wellbeing. He was a man who wasn_t afraid to cry when his soul was touched or troubled. He wasn_t afraid to speak for the truths he believed, even when it meant standing alone in his conviction. I chose to display hats to symbolize what Bob cherished in life. His more recent acquisition was the hard hat from the CeDAR project. His vision and commitment to this treatment center was so profound. From picking the architects to the glorious opening day, he saw much of his dream realized. He literally glowed when he spoke of all the plans he had for CeDAR. Then, there is the baseball cap with all the pins he had collected from across the country. He wore it with such enthusiasm even though we all thought he looked pretty Fdorky_! Then there is the train cap with FDr. Bob_ embroidered in red letters. He wore it while sitting on the front deck of our place in Winter Park. It was a dream come true for him to sit there in the sun, watching the trains go byItrains rumbling by so close that the place trembled. Then there was his favorite cowboy hat for the warmer days and his rabbit skins bomber hat for the sub zero daysVhe wore these as he wandered around the Winter Park area looking for trains and moose.[ His children wrote: BWhen Ian and I flew into Puerto Rico to be with our Mom after Dad_s death, we planned to meet at the airport. After our flights arrived, it was difficult to find each other, and we started to panic. My first thought wasVhad Dad been there, we would have been given detailed instructions about where to meet, along with contingency plans in case something went wrong. Ian and I felt our lives tumbling into chaos: we had lost our safety net. We will go ahead, but our family will never be the same. You (Dad) had a big presence in our lives and leave a tremendous void. We will miss your rambling phone messages when you were Fjust calling to check in._ We will miss your good judgment and advice in the years to come. These words cannot do justice to what you meant to us. Even though we are only just beginning to comprehend this loss, you can trust that you have provided us with a solid foundation. We carry forward many lessons from your life about: putting family first, giving to others, the value of planning ahead, and finding strength in yourself to overcome tremendous odds. Thanks for everything.[ No one could say it better. We all will miss him. He was a psychiatrist with a brilliant career and tremendous accomplishments. I respected his ability to make critical changes at a difficult time in his life and to dedicate himself to helping others. I will remember best his commitment and enthusiasm for his infant psychiatry program and his leadership in launching our new addiction rehabilitation program. James H. Shore, M.D. DOI: 10.1097/01.chi.0000233206.58674.89

J. AM. ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY, 45:10, OCTOBER 2006

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Copyright @ 2006 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.