W. Hall Harris III, labor relations supervisor


W. Hall Harris III, retired supervisor of labor relations at the Western Electric Co. and a volunteer in a program that studied migratory swans, died Sunday of heart failure at the Keswick Home in Roland Park. He was 87.

He retired in 1970 after a 41-year career in labor relations at the Point Breeze plant of the wire, cord and telephone apparatus manufacturer. He was an original employee of the plant when it opened in 1929.

He was a 1925 graduate of the Gilman School and received his bachelor's degree at Yale University in 1929.

He and his wife of 56 years, the former Sarah Louise Fairfax, were longtime residents of Roland Park.

After he retired, he was a volunteer for 10 years with Dr. William J. L. Sladen, a world-famous authority on migratory swans who was at the time a professor of ecology at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Mr. Harris assisted Dr. Sladen in his Swan Research Program, banding, sighting and studying the migration of tundra swans, formerly known as whistling swans. Now professor emeritus at Hopkins, Dr. Sladen is director of environmental studies at Airlie Center in Warrenton, Va.

"He helped us tremendously and was one of our most worthy volunteers," Dr. Sladen said of Mr. Harris. "He was a wonderful supporter of our program and worked closely with us when we were plotting the migration of swans in the late 1960s and early 1970s."

Mr. Harris belonged to the Society of the Cincinnati, Sons of the Revolution and the Society of Colonial Wars.

A memorial service was planned for 11 a.m. today at First and Franklin Street Presbyterian Church, 210 W. Madison St., Baltimore, where he was a member for many years.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, James M. Harris of Baltimore; a daughter, Sarah F. Harris of Gaithersburg; two sisters, Alice Patterson Harris of Baltimore and Selden H. Pigford of Wilmington, N.C.; and five grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the endowment fund of the church or the Yale Alumni Fund, Class of 1929, P.O. Box 1890, New Haven, Conn. 06508.

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