James  Harness

James Kent Harness

1940 - 2021

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Obituary of James Kent Harness

James Kent Harness, 81, passed away in his sleep early in the morning of Nov 24th 2021. The afternoon before all of his immediate family had spent time with him, praying with him, blessing him, and telling him he was loved deeply. He was at home and on his feet up until the last two weeks. Kent was born Nov 12th 1940 in Augusta Kansas to Paul and Irene Harness. After growing up on a family farm that provided most of their family food in Augusta, Kent went to the University of Kansas on a scholarship and was awarded a Bachelors of Mathematics. Summers he worked with his uncle's construction firm in Wichita, a large firm doing commercial construction. He continued on with graduate work at Wichita State University, both teaching and earning a Masters of Mathematics. While at Wichita he also worked for Boeing, working on software for the B52 program. He went on to the University of Kentucky for a Doctorate in Mathematics and completed all course work and interviews, while also teaching math classes at the university. While at the University of Kentucky he met Suzanne, his wife to be. They married Aug 10, 1968 and lived in Lexington Kentucky for several years while pursuing his Doctorate. He proved his thesis was un-provable and rather than wait a year for his advisor who was on sabbatical to return and another year to pursue a second thesis he moved to Boulder Co where he started working at Xytex rising to Senior Programmer Analyst. Later in life his ability to remember and explain mathematics without looking at the book would amaze his sons all the way through their college engineering level math classes. He fleshed out an idea of a house from Suzanne into their first house, a duodecagon on 5 acres. He built the house by hand, from laying the foundation to calculating and cutting all of the angles for the twelve sided house. His three sons were born while they lived in this house. While at Xytex he helped them merge into Cal Comp by a temporary move to the San Francisco bay area. After returning to their house in Boulder, Kent worked briefly at Colorado National Bank, and soon started working at StorageTek, developing automated tape storage systems. He spent 15 years at StorageTek, with positions of Senior System Architect, Senior Engineering Manager, Advisory System Architect, Senior Product Marketing Specialist, and Senior Software Instructor. In the instructor position he developed and taught classes to StorageTek's software engineers both in the US and Australia. StorageTek sent him to Australia and Japan several times over his career. After StorageTek Kent spent a number of years as a consultant to large brokerages and mutual funds, court systems, regional banks, and large capital management firms, with focuses on automated tape libraries, optical storage, and management of production and testing environments. He was very active with his three sons and successfully encouraged each to accomplish Eagle Scout. He went on every single camping trip during the boy's early years, and nearly every camping trip as they grew older and more independent while completed their scouting career. Amongst his many jobs on these camping trips, he always kept the coffee pot and hot chocolate going during winter outings. He was an assistant scoutmaster for eleven years. Kent was also active in church throughout his life. He served several years as financial committee chairman at one of them. His sons have followed with all three involved in music teams at their church and one a member of the church leadership team. In 1989 Kent and Suzanne bought 39 acres and started again from bare ground. This time it wasn't a hand built house, but they built barns and a house, fenced the property into hay and horse fields, and planted and tended to many trees turning that bare ground into the estate that it is today. He started irrigating and baling hay, and doing the mechanic work on the farm equipment, not his favorite subject, all while working full time. Through the building of many outbuildings, he was able to teach his sons about construction and add another subject to their capabilities and skills to carry them through life. Kent and Suzanne were still living in this house when he passed away. Kent is survived by his wife of 53 years, Suzanne, sons Paul, Blair, Grant, Grant's wife Adrienne, sister Carol Miller, and aunt Mary Kay (Kate) Rains.
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