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Neighbors: Late Concordia professor a man of many talents

Cliff Harrison carved this unique clock in the shape of a wrist watch. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor1 / 2
Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist2 / 2

Clifford Harrison was a multi-talented man.

Cliff, as he preferred being called, died in 2015 at age 84 after he retired as chairman of the economics and business department at Concordia College.

When he wasn't teaching, founding public service groups, or administering businesses or college departments, he carved items out of wood. And he was as good at that as he was in the professional arena.

Cliff was born in 1931 in Springston, Idaho, the youngest of 13 children. His family moved to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where he graduated from high school in 1949.

He earned a master's degree in business administration at the University of Portland in 1962 and a doctor of education degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, N.J., in 1986.

He was employed by Nabisco for 31 years, starting at its plant in Portland, Ore. He eventually went to Nabisco's headquarters in Fairlawn and East Hanover, N.J., and in New York, where he was director of corporate personnel administration. He then became professor of management/human resources at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

He came to Concordia in 1986. He and his wife, Marilyn, who he married in 1952, lived in Moorhead.

Cliff, working with Moorhead Police Chief Grant Weyland, who now is a Clay County commissioner, created and directed the Moorhead Police Volunteer program. That program is still "alive and thriving today, " according to David Ebinger, Moorhead's present police chief.

Cliff also established similar programs in Fargo and Bismarck, and served as the Moorhead police commissioner

And he was top-notch at working with wood.

One of the objects he created was a table-top watch holder he carved. He made several of them, inserted a watch in each and gave them to friends.

After he retired from Concordia in 1997, the Harrisons moved to West Milford, N.J., where Marilyn died in 2011.

They had three children: Pamela Adams, Oak Ridge, N.J.; Bradley Harrison, Cicero, N.Y., and Gregory Harrison, Ann Arbor, Mich.; four grandchildren and two great-granddaughters.

Many people in the Moorhead-Fargo area have fine memories of Cliff Harrison. And some of them have his watch holders.

The underpass

Some time ago, this column carried a note from a man who recalled a pedestrian underpass beneath the railroad tracks at Eighth Street and Main Avenue in Fargo. While the writer said he did not know when it was installed or when it was taken out, he knows it was there during World War II, when many troop trains went through Fargo, often blocking both vehicle and pedestrian street traffic.

In response to that column, Arden Feser, Fargo, writes, "When I moved to Fargo in 1960, the pedestrian underpass was still open at Eighth Street. I walked through it a few times, but I don't know when it was taken out. I think it was 1965, but I'm not sure.

"I mentioned the underpass in a conversation in the last few years and was given some very doubting looks," he says. "I guess I'm the old-timer in the crowd."

Arden grew up on a farm east of Glen Ullin, N.D. His grandfather homesteaded in the Twin Buttes, N.D., area, and Arden's father grew up there. The farm where Arden grew up was adjacent to the homestead. That land is still in the family; it is owned by Arden's aunt and her children.

Returning to thoughts about Fargo, Arden writes, "Even though I didn't grow up here, I am always amazed at how much downtown and all of Fargo has changed."

It sure has, Arden. Neighbors often hears from former residents who return to Fargo and are astounded at the changes and its growth.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 241-5487 or email