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Harriet Deck '57

Harriet Deck – July 29, 1935 to June 4, 2014. Harriet, a resident of Santa Cruz, died peacefully surrounded by family on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at Dominican Hospital from complications related to cancer treatment. Born in New York City's Lower East Side in 1935, the youngest of four girls, Harriet had a boundless curiosity and passion for life. At 17, she ventured “west” to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where the school's work-study program allowed her the opportunity to attend college while having a diversity of life experiences including training in social justice leadership at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, working at a mental hospital in Connecticut, and in a settlement house in Chicago. These experiences led to other adventures, such as assisting on creativity research projects with Frank Barron at UC Berkeley, dealing cards at Harrah's Lake Tahoe, and making fringed leather vests in San Francisco for Sly and the Family Stone. In 1956 she met the love of her life, writer John Deck, at the Co-Existence Bagel Shop in San Francisco. They were married in August of 1959 in New York City. They had two children, Caitlin and Amalia. After sojourns to Puerto Rico and Spain, Harriet arrived in Santa Cruz in the early 1970s and finally found her true home. She loved the town, the people, the University, the politics, and the Santa Cruz lifestyle. It was here that she honed her knack for working with people, making connections, and matching the right people with the right homes. Harriet practiced real estate in Santa Cruz for over forty years and was co-owner of Schooner Realty. Harriet actively championed and served many civic organizations, among them the Homeless Resource Center, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, the Community Counseling Center, Sunflower House, the Museum of Art and History, and Barrios Unidos. She was a long standing member of the UCSC Foundation Board. In 1989, after the Loma Prieta Earthquake, she was instrumental in organizing the temporary tent pavilions credited with keeping downtown commercial enterprise going over that holiday season while rebuilding got underway. In 1990, she was named Santa Cruz Woman of the Year for this work. Harriet loved travel and the outdoors and looked forward to annual summer hikes to the Yosemite High Sierra Camps. She could be found many mornings walking on West Cliff Drive with John and her dog Pearl. She loved art and music, and was a frequent attendee at Santa Cruz Symphony, Cabrillo Music Festival, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Harriet leaves behind her husband of 54 years, John Deck, daughters Caitlin Deck of Santa Cruz and Amalia Deck (David Fagan), grandson Jack Fagan of San Francisco, three sisters; Elaine, Laura and Anna , numerous nieces, nephews, and countless friends. She will be greatly missed. A graveside service will be held Friday, June 6 at 1PM at Santa Cruz Memorial Park, 1927 Ocean Street. A memorial celebration is being planned for sometime this summer. Harriet always loved a big party! In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to any of the organizations she supported.