Creating Alaska

Thomas C. Harris

Name: Thomas C. Harris

City: Valdez

District: 11

Occupation: Hotel Manager, Businessman, Developer of Alaska telephone systems

Born: January 30, 1926 - Oklahoma

Death: August, 1979 - Seward, Alaska

Burial Location: Ashes scattered at sea

Alaska Resident: 1950-79

Convention Posts:

  • Member, Committee on Executive Branch
  • Member, Committee on Judiciary Branch

Quote from the Constitutional Convention:

"Whereas: the first resolution adopted by the Alaska Constitutional Convention stated 'that it is the intent of this Convention that the Constitution should be a document of fundamental principles of basic government and contain the framework for state government', and

"Whereas, the location of the permanent seat of the capital cannot be regarded as a fundamental principle of government, nor as part of the framework of government

"Now Therefore Be It Resolved: That the Constitution shall be silent on the matter of the seat of government for the State of Alaska."

-Resolution introduced by Delegate Thomas C. Harris, Day 31 of the Constitutional Convention, broaching the subject of the location of the state capital. The issue was a contentious one, resulting in several days of debate, and was addressed several times throughout the convention. This resolution ultimately went down to defeat. Juneau was the site of the Territorial capital and remains the site of Alaska's seat of government.

Education: High School

Public Offices and Organizations:

  • District Governor, Toastmasters International

Obituary - Thomas Calvin Harris

Thomas Calvin Harris, 53, died Wednesday at Seward General Hospital. There will be no funeral; his ashes will be scattered at sea.

Born Jan. 30, 1926, in Hedrick, Okla., he was a 30-year Alaska resident. He was a delegate from Valdez at the 1955 Alaska Constitutional Convention, and in 1964 said of the document: "In the greater part of it, the Constitution is a good document. But when 55 persons are involved in writing a paper, it will always be a compromise situation to some extent. To me, the local government section at that time, and also now, was a little broad. It probably should have been a little more specific and it may still require some constitutional changes to work it out. We will have to take time to live with it and see if it is going to work out.

"But I still have as much hope and faith in it as I did when we signed it," he said.

In 1961 he opened, owned and operated the first Allied Radio Shack store in Anchorage and Alaska at 529 C Street . Also that year he was elected president of Trans-Alaska Telephone Co. and Communications Engineering. A member of Anchorage Toastmasters 887, he was elected governor of Toastmasters district 67-P in 1964 and 1965.

He was also a Master Mason, 32nd Degree, a member of A and A Scottish Rite and the Anchorage Elks Lodge 1351.

He leaves his wife, Mary of Seward; four sons, Cory of Seward, Gene and Robert of Anchorage, and Paul of Seattle, Wash.; three daughters, Ann Marcano and Kathy Thrall of Seward and Aurelia Harris of Anchorage; his mother, Effie Harris of Canyon, Texas; two brothers, W. B. and Leroy Harris, both of Texas; and two sisters, Minnie Mae Lewis and Carleen Carter, both of Illinois. Memorials may be made to the Shrine Children's Hospital.

Arrangements were by the Walsh Funeral Home of Seward.

Source – Anchorage Times – August 17, 1979