- April 26, 1922 - August 14, 2013
of Ragnhild's Passing
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After a brief illness, Ragnhild [Ronnie] M, Harris [van den Bogaert], age 91, of RiverCourt Residences, West Groton, died Wednesday, August 14, 2013 with loving family at her side. She was born April 26, 1922 on Java, Dutch East Indies to Alexander and Charlotte [Grüner] van den Bogaert. She is survived by two sons, Russell H. of Groton and Roger J. of Stockton, NJ; and one daughter, Sally H. Reed of Groton, five granddaughters and one grandson; and three great grandchildren. Her husband of 62 years, Dr. Jeffrey H. Harris, died in June 2010.
Her family moved to Melbourne, Australia when she was nine months old and moved to Harrogate, England, a suburb of London when she was nine years old. At the outbreak of World War Two, she came to Boston to study physical therapy at the Bouvé School, now the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. During the war she served in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant in the Pacific and European theaters.
She became a citizen of the United States while serving in New Caledonia. During the war, her older brother Edward, a pilot, served in the Royal Dutch Airforce in England as part of the Coastal Command before dying in January 1943 in the crash of a Hudson bomber. Ronnie was demobilized from the Army, receiving an honorable discharge at Fort Dix, NJ on November 10, 1945.
After the war, she returned to Boston, meeting Jeffrey H. Harris of Waban. They were married August 1948 in Seattle, Washington where her parents had settled. The couple lived in Providence, RI while Jeff completed his medical residency. Their final move was to Harvard in 1954 where Jeff became the town doctor. In the early years, Dr. Harris's medical practice was in the house with Ronnie managing the office. As sole medical provider in town, Dr. Harris had many emergencies requiring him to be on call 24 hours day, while Ronnie took care of the office and cared for three young children.
Ronnie loved sports, both as a spectator and participant. Tennis and skiing were passions she enjoyed from her youth into late middle age. Even after she could no longer play tennis competitively, she loved watching major tennis tournaments. She was a volunteer, driving for Harvard Help for many years, also participating as a member of the Harvard Woman's Club.
Later in life she developed an avocation as a basket maker, developing a local reputation for beautiful, creatively imagined, baskets that commanded high prices at local fund-raising auctions. For 25 years she enjoyed extended summers living at a simple cabin on Bare Hill Pond, enjoying the peace and serenity of the natural environment.
A memorial service will be held at the First Parish Unitarian Church in Groton, MA on September 28, 2013 at 2:00PM.