Robert "Bob" Harper<p>Tarboro</p> <p>Robert L. Harper (Bob) of Tarboro, NC passed away August 25, 2020 at home. He was preceded in death by his parents, Allen and Bessie Harper, brother Stan Harper and wife Jean Harper, and first wife Judy Harper. He is survived by wife Jane Harper, daughter Janis Koonce and husband J.H. Koonce, son Keith Harper and wife Dee Harper, daughter Lee Harper, stepson Trey Gurley and wife Georgia Gurley, granddaughter Sarah Koonce and husband Chase Beattie, step-grandson David Gurley, step-granddaughter Louise Gurley, and step-grandson Thomas Gurley. </p> <p>Bob was born on the family farm near Leggett, NC on July 2, 1934. He graduated from Rocky Mount Senior High in 1952. After high school, Bob worked two seasons weighing tobacco in Georgia and North Carolina and spent the time in between seasons working at the Rocky Mount airport in exchange for flying lessons. At 18-years-old, he soloed on the Piper J-3 Cub after 7.5 hours of instruction. Signing up for service in the Army came next. While in Korea, Bob used his pilot experience to become a two-way radio operator, nevermind that the Piper J-3 Cub didn’t actually have a radio. But his usual dedication to learning and doing his best led to success and the notice of his “radio voice.” Bob returned to Edgecombe County after his Army service and attended East Carolina University on the GI Bill. He graduated from ECU with a BS degree in Social Studies. He also studied creative writing with Ovid Pierce at ECU.</p> <p>Bob married Judith Everett on December 22, 1957. While still attending ECU he began his distinguished radio career as a part time announcer (before they were called DJs) at WCPS-FM. He quickly advanced into advertising sales and became General Manager at 26-years-old. Bob did some of the first play-by-play sports at WCPS-FM, including football, basketball, and some baseball. He took advantage of the station’s membership in the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters, using the networking and educational opportunities to help develop the successful, innovative, and community-oriented radio stations. He was named president of the NCAB in 1968. He went on to buy half interest in Coastal Plains Broadcasting and became president and CEO of the company, operators of WCPS-AM and WKTC-FM. </p> <p>Bob served as State Chairman of the POW-MIA Committee of Concern, appointed by Governor Bob Scott and re-appointed by Governor Jim Holshouser. In 1973 Americans Who Care and National League of Families recognized his work visiting eastern North Carolina families of POW/MIA service members. He served his community in many ways, as president of Little League, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and president of the Tarboro United Fund. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters in 1985. The Pilot Club of Tarboro presented him with the Community Service Award in 1987. Bob (mostly) retired from the radio stations in 1987 and enjoyed many years of travel with his wife Judy and golf with his buddies. Sadly, Judy passed away in 2003. </p> <p>In December 2006 Bob married Jane Hinton Gurley and they enjoyed a loving marriage. He always supported and encouraged his children and grandchildren in their pursuits. He loved raising a family in Tarboro and shared his kindness and awesome sense of humor with everyone he met. Bob was a member of Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church.</p> <p>Tune into PBS’s NC Broadcast Legends at 7:00 pm on Sept. 3 for an interview with Bob. Graveside service will be held Saturday, August 29, 2020, 2:00 pm at Edgecombe Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers a donation can be made to Kindred Hospice, 1712 W Howard Ave, Tarboro, NC 27886 or your favorite charity.</p> <p> </p>
Robert L. Harper (Bob) of Tarboro, NC passed away August 25, 2020 at home. He was preceded in death by his parents, Allen and Bessie Harper, brother Stan Harper and wife Jean Harper, and first wife Judy Harper. He is survived by wife Jane Harper, daughter Janis Koonce and husband J.H. Koonce, son Keith Harper and wife Dee Harper, daughter Lee Harper, stepson Trey Gurley and wife Georgia Gurley, granddaughter Sarah Koonce and husband Chase Beattie, step-grandson David Gurl...