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A Wetzel and Son Obituary for:
Jonathan Meigs Harper
October 4, 1941 - September 16, 2023


Funeral Home - Wetzel and Son Funeral Home - 501 Easton Road, Willow Grove, PA 19090 - 215-659-0911 - Map
Donation - American Cancer Society - PO Box 6704, Hagerstown, MD 21741 - 1-800-227-2345 - Map
Donation - St. Mark’s School - 25 Marlboro Road, Southborough, MA 01772 - 508-786-6000 - Map

The following obituary was composed by Jonathan’s family:

Jonathan Meigs Harper, of Gwynedd, PA passed away at his residence on Saturday, September 16, 2023 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 81 years old and was surrounded by his loving family, his partner Birtan Collier, and close friends.

Jon was born in 1941 in Mount Kisco, NY and is the son of Harry H. and Mary J. Harper and brother to Jean Schrenkel of CT. He was the loving father to daughters Heather Irons and her husband Ben (Blue Bell, PA) and Margaret Dorsheimer and her husband Jed (Dover, MA), and the cherished and admired grandfather to Perry and William Irons and Meigs and Brooks Dorsheimer.

In 1959, Jon graduated from St. Mark’s School in Southborough, MA and went on to earn his BA from the University of Pennsylvania (1963) and his MBA from The Wharton School (1965).

Before going off to boarding school, Jon spent his entire childhood in Katonah, NY and enjoyed memorable summers of his youth in Martha’s Vineyard. After marrying his college sweetheart, Jane Sheppard Harper, he started building his family in Bronxville, NY. Shortly after his second daughter was born, he moved the family to Annapolis for 7 years by the Chesapeake. An avid sailor, Jon bought a sailboat and was able to share his passion for sailing with his family and friends. Following a job transfer, he moved his family to Gwynedd Valley, PA where they remained until his retirement to Foulkeways in 2015.

Jon spent his career in Information Technology. He held various management positions at companies including IBM, Amtrak, Tasty Baking, Marriott, and The New York Times. Jon gained respect from all who worked with him and developed many close friendships up and down the east coast as a result.

While he enjoyed a successful career, he often verbalized that his greatest role and accomplishment was as a father, successfully raising two daughters who went on to build wonderful families of their own. Affectionately known as “Silly Pop Pop,” he was met by his grandchildren with excitement and glee at every visit. An eternal kid at heart, he treasured being the court jester in the kingdom of his grandchildren. Jon’s unmatched, witty sense of humor brightened everyone’s day, not just his immediate family. With his gentle, fun loving and open nature, he developed an entourage of fans, whether it be his neighbors, friends, fellow travelers, doctors or nurses.

Jon had a zest for life, exploration and adventure. He traveled by motorcycle, sailboat, ultralight and piper cub aircrafts, hot air balloon, and sports cars to see the world from numerous perspectives. As a father and husband, he cherished annual family summer trips to the Thousand Islands, Ontario, Canada and numerous family vacations such as sailing in the Virgin Islands and relaxing in Sea Island, GA.

Jon embraced the opportunity for retirement which allowed him to travel exponentially and pursue a myriad of hobbies and interests. During retirement, he and his partner, Birtan Collier, who also shares his passion for travel, spanned the globe with innumerable trips to places near and far including Africa, Alaska, Australia, South America, and Turkey.

Equally important to Jon were his hobbies as an expert craftsman, which included model building (static and remote control building/operation), and woodworking. He honed his craft and built amazing pieces including steamships, remote control airplanes/sailboats, half hulls, and a custom model railroad landscape that captured many meaningful landmarks of his life.
Jon’s other interests included power walking, contemporary music, videography, and reading. He was also an animal lover, especially of cats.

Jon amiably sailed through life, leaving behind a ripple, not a wake, to gently mark his path. He embraced life with positivity and open arms. He leaves his family comforted by the fact that his fun loving spirit will continue to lighten the sky, keeping everyone entertained and smiling. His light and energy here on earth will be missed by so many family and friends.

A private family gathering will be held to celebrate Jon’s life and legacy.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Jon’s memory may be made to American Cancer Society or to St. Mark’s School in Southborough, MA. Please see “Contacts” section above for more information on how to donate.

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