Leland Harris CPPSD Press Release
Thanks to Marian Russell for sharing with us.
Date: Thursday, February 11, 2010
C-PP School Officials Remark on the Passing of Leland F. Harris, Owner and Operator of Leland F. Harris Incorporated - Bus Company
CORNING, NY – Leland F. Harris, age 85, of Lindley, passed away February 5, at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. Mr. Harris was a well-known and highly respected individual who transported local children to and from school in the District since 1939. Superintendent Michael Ginalski said, “On behalf of the C-PP School District and Board of Education, we offer our condolences to the family and friends of Leland F. Harris and the employees of his company, Leland F. Harris Incorporated. We are thankful and honored to have had such a special person take such wonderful care of this community’s children for so many years.”
Larry Eccleston, C-PP Director of Transportation said, “Leland had an amazing passion for his business. It was evident in every conversation I had with him.” He said, “He loved kids and realized the important role his company played in the lives of his community. He transported generations and generations of local children, and was well-known across the state for his advocacy for safety in that industry.”
“The best way I can describe my Dad is that he was soft-hearted,” said his son, Larry Harris, of Lindley. He said, “We are a small company, and Dad treated everyone as family. That’s just the way he was and the way he ran the company.” Larry said it was typical for his father to be in the garage starting the buses and inspecting them at 5 am, and if a bus needed repair or attention, he would work until 10 pm. “It was that attention to detail that Dad had that earned him respect across the state and even the country,” said Larry. Leland was a member of the National School Bus Transportation Association in the 1970s and had been President of the School Bus Contractors Association. In 1991, the company was named School Bus Contractor of the Year. In 1979 he was honored by receiving the Golden Merit Award from the NSBTA, which was presented by Tom Brokaw.
His daughter, Patsy Harris, of Lindley, said, “My father had a wonderful way with children. So many people have called since he passed to tell us what he meant to them, or share a memory. Kids really respected him.” She recalled when she rode his bus as a child, that if anyone acted up, all it took was a look in the mirror from her father and the kids settled right down. “That’s all it took…was that look,” she said with a smile. She added, “His impact on children is evident in the relationship he had with his great-grandson, Garrett.” Garrett, who is 10 years old and student at Lindley-Presho, spent almost every day after school helping his great-grandfather on the family farm in Lindley. Patsy said, “Dad enjoyed working with Garrett and