Sep 27, 2017
Episode 357 of the Short Time Wrestling Podcast visits with
Lehigh alum and wrestling media member Denny Diehl as he shares his
memories and stories about the late John Harmon.
John J. Harmon, the EIWA's Sports Information Director Emeritus, passed away Tuesday, September 26, 2017. A 1959 graduate of Lehigh University John earned a B.A. in mathematics, is survived by his wife Elaine Oberkotter Harmon and his daughters Debbie and Wendy and their families.
John was a computer programmer/systems analyst by profession. Many knew him as the publisher for twenty-four years of the EIWA Newsletter, the clearinghouse of all information regarding the teams of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association, the nation's oldest wrestling conference. He was the EIWA Sports Information Director for more than two decades. John worked with Greg Strobel, the EIWA's Executive Director, to create the conference's first website which incorporates many of the features of the EIWA Newsletter, which ceased publication in 2014. John co-authored the first and second editions of The History of the EIWA and from 1983-90 was editor of National Mat News. In 2012 he received the Dellinger Award as the nation's top wrestling journalist. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, OK, its NJ Wrestling Hall of Fame chapter and served a decade on the EIWA Hall of Fame Committee.
The generosity of John and Elaine to Lehigh was boundless. They were the lead donors for the renovations of Grace Hall that became Leeman-Turner Arena. Typical of the man, he insisted that the arena be named, not after himself, but after Hall of Fame coaches Gerry Leeman and Thad Turner. The Harmons also supported the building of Goodman Stadium, the head wrestling coach and assistant coaches’ endowments, the Michael Caruso Wrestling Complex, and the John J. Harmon '59 Wrestling Scholarship. Elaine assembled thousands of care packages for service members who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
His community activities included the Lawrence Township Board of Education, the Mercer County Human Services Advisory Council, the Lawrence Rotary Club, and several New Jersey statewide committees dealing with education. A lifelong railroad enthusiast and investor, Harmon was a member of the National Railroad Historical Society.
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