Donald Harris

Obituary of Donald Michael Harris

Donald Michael Harris, 79, passed away peacefully on Friday, March 31, 2023, at his home embraced by his loving family. Born in the Bronx, NY on October 20, 1943, he was the youngest son of Louis and Sylvia Harris.  He grew up in Yonkers and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1991.  Don continued his education at the University of Maryland at College Park earning a BA Degree Cum Laude in 1965, and an MA degree from SUNY Albany in 1973.

Don was united in marriage to Elaine Swersky in 1966 and joined the US Peace Corps. They served in Ethiopia from 1966-1968 as English teachers at Haile Selassie 1st Secondary School.  Don coached basketball there, as well.  

After returning to the United States, Don taught English at Estee Junior High School in Gloversville, NY from 1968-1972.  He taught US History and Participation in Government at Gloversville High School from 1972-1998.

In addition to classroom teaching, Don was dedicated to providing students the opportunity to further their education outside the classroom and help students develop leadership skills.  He was the advisor for various clubs during his tenure.  Don was the advisor for the International Friendship Club. He was the Student Government advisor from 1980-1998. Various SGA activities included: trips, attendance & presenters at National Student Conferences, short term student exchanges with various high schools, Special Friends program with Gloversville Senior Center, anti-smoking campaign, established Students Against Drunk Driving Club, and organized the wildly anticipated Annual Floor Hockey Tournament.

Don also served on various committees with his GESD peers including Principal Selection Committee and teacher contract negotiator.

Following his retirement in 1998, Don served as part-time Fulton County Youth Director. He also worked with a special group of retirees to form the Gloversville Retired Teachers’ Association and served as the first President of the organization.


Don loved planning trips.  He and Elaine visited many beautiful places is the USA and Europe.  He also enjoyed spending time with Elaine, Dan, Stephanie, Marley, and Cole on many memorable vacations.  He was a lifelong and loyal fan of the Jets, Islanders, NY Knicks, LA Dodgers, and Maryland Terps. 

In addition to his parents, Don was predeceased by his brother, Robert Harris and niece Linda Harris. 


He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Elaine; his son, Daniel and his wife, Stephanie; adored grandchildren Marley and Cole Harris; his brother, Alan Harris;  Becky Civjan (sister-in-law) and Ralph Civjan (brother-in-law); Sonny Swersky (brother-in-law) and Thera Swersky (sister-in-law); nieces and nephews and grandnieces and nephews.

We are forever grateful to our family and friends for a lifetime of love and support.  We give gratitude to Memorial Sloan Kettering and Dr. Michael Postow for exceptional treatment, care and help.


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his memory to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center P.O. Box 5028 Hagerstown, MD 21741-5028 or Cycle for Survival (Michael Postow's Team - Melanoma Research) 633 Third Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10017  or Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care, 108 Steele Avenue, Gloversville, NY 12078


Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 1p.m. at Knesseth Israel Synagogue, 34 E. Fulton Street, Gloversville, NY 12078.  Burial will follow in Knesseth Israel Cemetery.


Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Walrath & Stewart Funeral Home.  Please visit the online memorial at

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Funeral Service

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Knesseth Israel Synagogue
34 E. Fulton St.
Gloversville, New York, United States


2:15 pm - 2:30 pm
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Kneseth Israel Cemetery
Clyde St.
Gloversville, New York, United States
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