David E. Harper
June 23, 1932 – November 7, 2015
David was born in Manila, Philippine Islands, June 23, 1932, to parents Edgar and Maria Harper. He was the 9th of 10 children. When he was 9 years old, he and his entire family were imprisoned by the Japanese during WWII at the Santo Tomas University. Four years later in 1945, the family was liberated by American soldiers, and David had the privilege of meeting his liberator and hero 70 years later. Upon their release, the family came to America, arriving in San Francisco, and came on to Selma to begin their lives again. David graduated from Selma High and Fresno State with his teaching credential. He began his career at Roosevelt Junior High teaching woodshop, metal shop, and drafting. He was also known to teach mechanical drawing, auto shop, an occasional math class, and coach tennis. He taught as many as three generations in the same family during his 36-year career at Roosevelt in Selma. Mr. Harper never knew a stranger. He was full of life and an inspiration to many young men and women. David loved his family first and foremost. He loved traveling the world, music of all kinds, and food. He taught himself to play the harmonica by ear, and would entertain people by building the greatest bonfire in the campground complete with marshmallows on wire hangers. Photography was a hobby he annoyed everyone with, especially on trips and at holidays with family. After retirement, you could find David either in Yosemite, at the coast, or weekends on the dance floor at the 409 Club, bouncing around to any local club with live music.
He is survived by his two daughters, Michelle Harper Van Rensselaer, Jennifer Smith and her husband Patrick; five grandchildren, Lauren, Emily, Grace, Samantha, and J.P.; one sister; Grace Penn; and numerous nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind his first wife, Jacqueline Harper.
Please join us for a Celebration of Mr. Harper’s Life to be held at Roosevelt Elementary School Cafeteria, 1802 Floral Ave., Selma, CA, on Saturday, November 21, 2015, at 10:00 a.m.