Former Foster City Mayor Russ Harter died April 24 with his wife Betty at his side.
He was 84.
Harter served on the Foster City Council from 1995 to 2003 and was the city’s mayor twice.
“He really cared for Foster City. He devoted his time to make Foster City the best it could be,” said Rick Wykoff, who served alongside Harter on the council.
Harter was a fiscal conservative, Wykoff said, who helped mold what the city has become today.
“When it came to spending taxpayer money, he was fiscally responsible,” Wykoff said.
He will also be missed, many of his colleagues said.
“Russ set the bar for all those that followed with his compassion and love for Foster City. He took such pride in being a councilmember and mayor. He will be missed,” Mayor Pam Frisella wrote the Daily Journal in an email.
Harter’s passing was a sad day for the city, Vice Mayor Charlie Bronitsky said.
“Russ devoted much of his time and energy toward making Foster City the great place to live, work and play that it has now become and our city will miss him and his wonderful spirit of community,” Bronitsky wrote the Daily Journal in an email.
Harter was raised in upstate New York and worked at the Remington Arms Factory before attending Pratt Institute in New York City where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering and also met his wife Betty.
After graduating in 1951, Harter attempted to join the Army but was rejected because he was too short, his family told the Daily Journal.
He then worked as an engineer at Westinghouse Electric and got his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.
He worked for Atlantic Research in Virginia where he designed oxygen and air regenerating and scrubbing systems for nuclear submarines and for the preservation of fresh fruit.
He and Betty had two children, Sheila and David, before being transferred to San Francisco to work for the U.S. Postal Service in the construction division.
The family moved to Foster City in 1976.
He was also one of the key reasons why the city ended up building a park for skateboarders.
“For every child who participates in an organized sport, there are three who skateboard,” Harter said while serving on the council before it approved the construction of a skate park.
He is survived by his wife, two children and two grandchildren, Steven and Michael.
There will be a celebration of Harter’s life at the Foster City Recreation Center, 2 p.m., Saturday, May 11, 650 Shell Blvd., Foster City.
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