Bob Harris II, our featured contractor in the Feb/March 2002 issue of Concrete Decor, died of a stroke on May 24th at the age of 67. Harris was a lifetime devotee of concrete construction who owned his own company in California for many years. He passed on his enthusiasm to his son, Bob Harris III, who was kind enough to share with us some of his memories.
What a truly great man and father my dad was. He not only dedicated his life to his family but to the field of concrete construction, helping virtually thousands of people along the way.
I suppose my grandfather, who worked on the Hoover Dam pouring concrete, sparked my Dad’s interest in concrete. Dad started in the business in Northern California back in 1958 as a concrete finisher, working with my uncle Dino, who also has dedicated his life to the field of concrete construction. After working for years around the state of California as a concrete finisher, my dad and a partner started a highly successful business in 1975.
I remember the business started in our living room with one desk and a phone. My mom was the one on the phone in between taking care of her three children. At the time, as a kid, I could not understand the long days Dad devoted to the business, many times sacrificing personal times to make the business successful. Later in life, his hard efforts were better understood.
The business grew in the 80s to where they were generating about $15 million worth of sales annually. In 1993, Dad decided to semi-retire in a 50-or-older subdivision. Holding the status of semi-retired meant that he was up just as early every morning and worked longer in the day. Dad was a legend in this community, where he used the skills he learned from many of us in the decorative field for staining, skimming, and texturing patios and driveways throughout the community.
In one instance, his next-door neighbors asked my Dad to come over one afternoon and give them a price on a sidewalk from the back patio to the driveway. Dad informed them that the only cost to them was the cost of the concrete. He told them he would try to work it into his schedule. The next morning, at 5:45 A.M., the neighbor was awakened by sounds outside (thinking it was a burglar) only to find that my Dad was driving stakes in the ground while setting forms.
I could write a book on the thousands and thousands of wonderful memories I have of my father but I will stop here. There is no doubt that my Dad is in Heaven forming up new stairways to Heaven or making the existing stairways look even better!