Alexander "Alex" Anthony Harper

April 24, 1937December 29, 2020

Alejandro ‘’Alex” Anthony Harper., Esq., BA.,USD., 1960.,LLB., 1963., USD updated JD., 1968 USD., In Law School he worked as Associate Student assigned to the Dean. Was a Charter member of the McCormick Chapter of P.A.D., legal Fraternity. Graduated law School with honors and passed State Bar exams in 1963. #35019. Alex was a proud member of the Sons of the American Revolution., (SAR)., Ohio Chapter. Legal advisor to “Harper Herald”., and Harper Family society. He was well known for his sense of humor and old style court tactics. Alex achieved an AV Preeminent peer review rating from the Martindale Hubbell International Law Directory for legal excellence based on confidential opinions from practicing attorneys and Judges. As published in the San Diego Magazine March 2015, “Top Lawyers in San Diego”. He had several published appellate decisions that set legal precedents, some of which are taught in Law Schools and he lectured on various legal topics. Another subset of the Community knew him, who along with his wife Edna, were during the Seventies through Nineties heavily involved as Trustees for Modern Dance companies and Foundations that helped the Art thrive. Alex rode motorcycles into his eighties which was his favorite pastime. He was born in Nogales AZ., Saturday at noon April 24, 1937 to Emilia Elijia Delgado de Harper and Anthony “Tony” Hector Harper, Sr. In 1939 the family moved to Calexico CA, where Tony, Sr., worked as a Bank Examiner in Mexicali BC, Mexico, and then became an owner of several Shoe Stores. Alex died 12/29/2020 in San Diego CA, as he predicted he would when his parents who were living at the time in Calexico CA, brought him as a little boy to play in the waves at Mission Beach. Alex first owned home was at that beach. His only sibling was his mentor and best friend Anthony “Tony’’ Hector Harper, Jr., 06/10/1931. Alex went to Our Lady of Guadalupe boys grammar (Sister) School in Calexico CA, where Sister Rosemary was his teacher. She and Alex’s mother Emilia often lamented how difficult this bright little boy was. He was sent home because he convinced the class to strike and stay out of class because they were not allowed to have recess at the same times the girls did. Alex also took classes as a child in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, where Rutilio and Emilia Delgado his grand parents lived. Alex, since he was 9 years old, wanted to be a Lawyer so he came to San Diego and graduated from St. Augustine High School in 1956, a college preparatory school where he lettered in Track, and was in drama plays with Victor Charles Buono who became a famous Hollywood actor. Also Tony Bill at Saints, became actor producer, who years later invited Alex to join him in a screen test for a Frank Sinatra movie, but Alex wanted to finish law school. In 1956 Alex chose to go to the Catholic University of San Diego, (many Jesuit professors at the time), because they had a graduate law school with the reputation that if you graduated from there you would probably pass the State Bar Exams on the first try. This later became a reality for Alex. At USD he was very active in the drama club Alcala Masquers including President one year. He was in many plays and won a best Actor award presented by Actor George Peppard for Alex’s rendition of Judas in the yearly rendition on Palm Sunday before a full house, the Passion play, “The Betrayal” Balboa Park at the Organ Pavilion. A cast of over 100 including Victor Buono who also played Caiaphas the High Priest. While a freshman in Law School on November’s United Nations Day 1961, Alex spearheaded a peaceful picketing Anti Communist march and rally by USD students that ended downtown San Diego at the Horton Plaza fountain, getting full coverage by press, television and radio. Years later when the Bronze Fountain’s eagle had been stolen and the Horton Plaza Fountain was vandalized Alex was the major donor on restoring it. He also was a charter donor on keeping the Kiss Statute; see sidewalk inscription. Alex in 2012 pro bono, along with other Lawyers, successfully gave legal advice and strategy to SOHO et al, in defeating in Court the City Council’s plan to build a multistory parking structure and concretization for Balboa Park. On August 19, 1961 he married Edna Mercedes Harper, who had been matched for Alex by his mother when Edna was 12 years old, they had no children, but Alex often thanked God that he listened to his mother, because she was always there for him when he lost a case or needed a friend. Edna traveled with Alex sometimes when he had a Trial in Switzerland, however most of the time, since he was on the road she devoted her time to Foundation and Dance Board work. As an Artist Edna is best known for her famous Harper’s Topiary Garden.“What the?! (Topiary Garden)” on YouTube. In January 1964 Alex cut his teeth in the San Diego City Attorney’s Office which at the time had few attorneys so as a result they had to do everything from Traffic Tickets, DUI jury trials, and civil cases, depending on who was sick or available. Alex was also assigned from 1964 to 1969 to be legal advisor at the City Planning Commission and City Council public hearings on Planning, Subdivision and Zoning Matters, where he appeared regularly in Newspaper and Media stories caused by for example, rulings he would make; some controversial like allowing the first Liquor store in La Jolla Shores. He also updated for hearings, obsolete Zoning Ordinances and testified as an expert during the infancy of the Coastal Commission Act. He appeared on the Ballot pamphlet that placed the Mission Valley Stadium to the vote of the people as the attorney who authored the proposition. In 1969, after privately declining the appointment for the City Attorney vacancy, Alex with mostly Deputy City Attorneys left to create their own Law Firm of which he was a senior partner; known as Huntington, Bryans, Harper, Henderson, Burney and Newman-Crawford, with notable clients like the San Diego Zoo, The Philadelphia National Bank, Boise Cascade, etc. As a Mexican American attorney with the required more than 5 years as a member of the Bar, which were rare in those days, Alex was honored to have been given the opportunity twice to become a judge but he preferred to practice law. In the early seventies Alex became one of Mary Patrick personal and business litigator Attorneys for the Steven and Mary Birch Charitable Foundation which had Alex practicing International Law, with cases in Switzerland and other Countries. In February 1977 Alex was appointed by the Federal Court as Chief Counsel to a Federal Equity Receivership case. Securities & exchange Commission V. Walter Wencke, Disgorgement - et al., Op. #. 83-6469; D.C. # CV 76- 0783. A massive Fraud and purchase of Securities that involved the fleecing of public companies and partnerships. Taking place in Canada and the United States. The case involved matters under seal, undercover work and many court appearances over the years because of the many satellite companies involved. After 29 appeals and 17 years it was successfully closed by returning to the shareholders their interest in the ill-gotten gains with several going to prison but for Walter C. Wencke Esq. On 10/9/79 he jumped bail and became a fugitive from justice and was never caught. Even-though the FBI and others looked for him world wide, to Alex this was a huge disappointment which bothered him even in retirement. Alex is survived by his wife Edna and his brother Tony Jr. and Tony Jr.’s children, Ranny, Celeste, Anthony III, and Barbara Anne, and numerous more nieces and nephews. His ashes will rest 1/2 with Edna at Camino Real and 1/2 with brother Tony at Shandy Hall; Harper Private Cemetery in Harpersfield, OH. At his request there will be no services. Alex’s Credo: “God is first, everyone else is second, and I am third; Don’t leave me Lord!”


Alexander "Alex" Anthony Harper

have a memory or condolence to add?

José Azcona

January 16, 2021

I´ll aways be thankfull for recibing me in your house, where I felt like home, for the summer of 1981.
And also thank the chance to know you Edna and Alex.
It was wonderful to meet you and spend that time with you.
Great personality of Alex and sence of humor, I remember him wearing only black or white for the weekends.
So sorry for your loss Edna. Come to Mazatlan and pay me the 1981 visit anytime.

Carol Flint

January 4, 2021

RIP dear cousin. Here's to the most interesting man I ever knew. I will always love and miss you. Cousin Carol

Nancy Harper

January 4, 2021

Dear Edna, and Tony and Harper cousins---- We Montana cousins (the kids of George and Dorothy Harper in Helena) are so much richer for having known Alex---We are so grateful for the knowledge of our common ancestors that we would've been ignorant of without Alex's contact with our father. We are grateful to Alex and Edna and Anthony's family who came to visit us in Montana, and the several times they hosted our family members in "their" San Diego. His passing leaves a hole in our shared family life---but we are so filled with gratitude that such a vibrant man belongs to us---and we to him! Talk about a life well lived! Peace be with you all at this time, and always. Love, Nancy Harper and your Montana cousins

Tracie Livermore

January 2, 2021

Such a big and bright person! Alex filled the room with light. So sad in his passing.

Jennifer Flint

January 2, 2021

I only met Alex at one family reunion, but I have heard many stories of the legend that Alex was. So successful and fun. After my grandpa Frank died, Alex shared stories with me of him and my grandpa growing up. So sorry for your loss Edna and family.

Brenda Harper Riggenbach

January 1, 2021

My deepest sympathy to Edna and the entire Harper family. Alex, you are now safe in the arms of our Lord. Rest in eternal peace!

James V Pieri

January 1, 2021

I knew Alex for about 20 years. An amazing man who’s company I so enjoyed . His mind was so sharp and stimulating. His ability to evaluate a situation and condense the overall issue to such definitive and substantive solutions never ceased to impress me. Some of his personality quirks were a kick and his love for motorcycles and his ponytail kept him tied to his youth of the fifties- sixties. Alex you were a unique man who will be deeply missed. I’m sure the gates of heaven opened happily for you. Until we meet again. RIP

Richard Durocher

January 1, 2021

Mr Alexander a true gentleman I have had the privilege to meet and call my friend! Admired and loved. Will truly miss his positive attitude and wonderful nature as a true human being I look up to and always will. Sincerely Richard (Dickie) Durocher

Kimberly Harper

December 31, 2020

RIP Uncle Alex! You were a great man who always told the BEST stories.