Allan Harris, M.D., of Lyndhurst, passed away June 26, 2019, at age 85 after a long illness.
He was born and lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., until age 11 when his family moved to Miami, Fla., where his activist parents became victims of the McCarthy era political scene.
Dr. Harris remained in Miami after his parents moved to Cleveland to join his sister, Joan (Julis Natko). He was accepted to the first medical school class at the University of Miami, receiving a medical degree in 1959.
In addition to his medical studies, he played the violin with the Miami Symphony Orchestra. After graduation, he joined his family in Cleveland and interned at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Residencies and a fellowship in cardiology followed at Mt. Sinai, Fairview Park, Metropolitan General and Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago.
Over the years, Dr. Harris served various administrative roles at Polyclinic Hospital at Women’s General Hospital, including chief of cardiology, chief of medicine and chief of staff. He maintained a private practice until he retired in 2013.
Highlights of his career include: director of cardiac at the Work Classification Clinic of the Cleveland Area Heart Society; co-founder of the Cleveland Free Clinic; and a seven-month sabbatical in the People’s Republic of China as visiting professor of cardiology. He felt that his greatest contribution to patients resulted from his testimony before the Ohio Supreme Court, which led to compensable recognition that stress in the workplace could lead to physical injury such as a heart attack (Ryan v. Connor 1986).
Friends and family speak of his kindness, caring, passion and sense of humor. He loved tennis, deep political and philosophical conversations, practicing medicine and most of all, his family.
Dr. Harris is survived by his loving wife, Frances (nee Lichtenfels) of 51 years; children, Gregory (Debra) Harris and Tami (Cliff) Harris-Robinson; his beloved grandchildren, Jacob, Sloan and Lucas Robinson, and Rubin Harris; and nieces and nephews, Judi, Mohammed and Kamal Khalfoun; Dr. Sabrina and Roland Palacios, and Jon, Sally, Nicolas and Addy Natko; and his sister-in-law, Patricia DeShields.
Contributions can be made to ACLU of Ohio or Circle Health Services (formerly The Free Clinic).