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Over The Divide: Kenneth Leon Harn

I am extremely saddened to report that my father, Ken Harn, previous Editor/Publisher of ICMJs Prospecting and Mining Journal from 1979 to 1999, passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 29, 2020, at the age of 82 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s.

Ken was born in Los Angeles, California, but relocated to Soquel, California as a child with his parents. He attended Mountain Elementary School, where his mother, Alice Harn, taught multiple grades in the one-room schoolhouse, while his father, Guy Harn, operated a pony ring down by the Capitola beach and raised thousands of chickens on their family farm. Ken met his wonderful wife, Kathy (Reid), while they were classmates at Santa Cruz High School. After spending two years in the Navy, Ken and Kathy were married in 1962.

Long-time readers of the Journal who remember Ken as Editor and Publisher may not be aware that Ken had a successful career in law enforcement prior to his career in publishing. Ken began as a police officer with the Santa Cruz Police Department in 1958, and eventually retired as Chief of Police of Pleasant Hill (1975-1979). In between, he also worked at Newark PD and Gilroy PD.

In 1979, Ken decided to make a career change and purchased the Journal from his father-in-law, Herb Reid. Ken started out as the Associate Editor of what was then called the California Mining Journal. His wife Kathy and his sister-in-law Marian Reid also worked for the Journal. Ken took over Editor/Publisher responsibilities for the Journal after his father-in-law passed away unexpectedly the following year.

For the next 20 years, Ken worked diligently to transform a small mining magazine, with its gold cardstock cover, hand drawn cartoons and black text, into an internationally recognized magazine with a glossy cover, color photos and stories that covered not just California, but everywhere else in the world where mining and prospecting news happened. For a while, he took a lot of flack from old-time readers who weren’t happy with the switch from a cardstock to glossy cover because their magazines wouldn’t stay stacked anymore! But in the end, most people were grateful for the improvements he made, including legislative updates, Melman on Gold & Silver, a whole page of mining stock quotes, and more. If you recall, the early 1980s were a great time for gold and the magazine took off. With its international reach, Ken decided to change the magazine title to International/California Mining Journal. At the end of 1999, he and Kathy sold the Journal to me and my wife Sally, and they retired once and for all.

Ken is preceded in death by his parents Guy and Alice Harn, and his brother Gerry and sister-in-law Rae. Ken leaves behind his adoring wife of 57 years, Kathy Harn, his sister-in-law Marian Reid, his two sons Steve (wife Michele) and Scott (wife Sally), and seven grandchildren (Seven, Alyssa, Mallory, Riley, Breanna, Bianca and Alyssa Rose). 

He will always be remembered as someone well-known for his work ethic, honesty, integrity, caring attitude and witty sense of humor, and those readers who knew him were well aware that he fought tooth and nail for the rights of miners. He adored his family, loved traveling, camping, boating and fishing—he especially loved catching salmon and going fly fishing. He was a person whom his friends, co-workers and family wanted to emulate.

When Sally and I first took over the Journal, he was the best mentor anyone could ask for. We are forever grateful for all the ways he helped us grow as a business and as human beings. He was a great father, grandpa, and friend, and he is dearly missed. May you rest in peace, Dad.

© ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal, CMJ Inc.
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