Former communications head at CPB, Stanley Harrison, dies at 81

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Stan HarrisonStanley Harrison, a former communications director for CPB, died of cardiac arrest on April 5 in Miami Beach, Fla., six days before his 82nd birthday. He had suffered a stroke in November 2011.
Harrison oversaw public relations and publications for CPB from 1976 to 1985, where his office was distinguished by a haze of cigar smoke.

After CPB, he followed the corporation’s past president, Ed Pfister, to the University of Miami’s School of Communication, where Pfister became dean. Harrison remained a professor of public relations at the school. He had taught part time at American University and at the Pentagon.

A specialist on the Baltimore satirist and critic H.L. Mencken, he edited the scholarly journal Menckeniana. Harrison began his career in 1946 as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, where Mencken roosted.

“It is rare to find an individual who truly can achieve a goal most of us express, of being true to oneself to the very end,” said Thomas Steinfatt, a faculty colleague at the University of Miami, quoted in the student newspaper, the Miami Hurricane. “It was refreshing to be with him because he was so unique, refusing to copy or kowtow to the beliefs of others.

Harrison wrote six books, including Mencken Revisited: Author, Editor & Newspaperman, in 1999, and Editorial Art of Edmund Duffy, about a Pulitzer Prize-winning Baltimore Sun cartoonist, in 1998.

Harrison was born in Baltimore to Frank and Thelma Baer Harrison. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science at the University of Maryland, College Park, and his doctorate in government and public administration from American University in Washington, D.C.

Before college, Harrison served three years in the Air Force and received the Silver Medal of the U.S. Naval Institute.

During his grad-school years he worked for the Institute for Defense Analyses and Research Analysis Corp., and wrote speeches on Capitol Hill from 1971 to 1973. He spent three years in journalism as an associate editor of National Journal, 1973 to 1976 before joining CPB.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Frances; two brothers, Larry Harrison and Carroll Harrison; and sister Linda Harrison.

The family suggests donations to the S.L. Harrison Memorial Scholarship Fund for deserving students in need. Send a check, payable to the University of Miami, to 5100 Brunson Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146, and indicate that the donation is for that fund.
A memorial service took place at the university on April 19. He was buried that day in Lorraine Park Cemetery in Woodlawn, Md. — Dru Sefton, Steve Behrens

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