After growing up in the Upper Blanco Basin in Pagosa Springs and attending school here, when possible, he worked on neighboring ranches, herding cattle and learning about life. He enlisted in the Navy in World War II and served as an electrician’s mate aboard the USS Kearsarge. After his honorable discharge, he went to Fort Lewis College and earned a degree in animal husbandry, but always had a yearning for electronics.
As a very young boy, he sent away by mail for a kit on how to build a shortwave radio and, when the kit arrived, he put it all together, tied an antenna to a tree and was thrilled to hear someone in Wheeling, W. Va. He woke his family up and made them all listen to some stranger across the continent talking to him in Pagosa Springs, Colo. Very exciting. He maintained that radio connection throughout his life and was again thrilled when he spoke with a man in the South Pole only recently.
Animal husbandry degree aside, he applied for a job with CBS Radio in New York City and was hired. His first job with CBS Radio was in Syracuse, N.Y., but then, when television became the medium of the day, he transferred to CBS television and retired as director of broadcast operations in 1982. He always said he was in charge of the quality of the TV picture, never the programs or the actors.
After retirement, he moved back to Pagosa Springs in June of 1982 and, as David Mitchell once said: “he landed running.” He was active in community affairs and the sheriff’s office here always with his eye on radio communications. He was the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 2009.
He and his second wife, Norma, opened the Fred Harman Art Museum in 1983 and were pleased to meet “Red Ryder” fans from all over the world. He always welcomed everyone he met with a story and he had many to tell.
He is survived by his wife, Norma Sobeck Harman; his son, Rick Harman (Frederick Harman IV); and his stepchildren, Karl Sobeck (Annette), Eric Sobeck (Nancy), Tom Sobeck, Lisa Sobeck Popowich and Jennifer Sobeck Rumore (Steve); eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. One grandchild predeceased him.
He has been cremated. A memorial service will be held in May 2017.
In lieu of kindly offered flowers, memorial gift donations in honor of Fred are gratefully received by the Fred Harman Art Museum (at Citizens Bank or P.O. Box 192, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147) or Trinity Anglican Church (P.O. Box 3217, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147).