LaGRANGE PARK, Ill. — Martha T. Harris, 88, former Quad-City Symphony Orchestra cellist and Augustana College librarian, died July 13, 2014, at Plymouth Place Retirement Community in LaGrange Park, Ill., after a brief illness. Ms. Harris was born Martha Nash Tucker in Washington D.C., on Feb. 3, 1926. She was the daughter of Lucy H. Tucker and Rufus S. Tucker of Westfield, N.J. She graduated from Radcliffe College, now Harvard University, and received a master of arts degree in library science from the University of Iowa. Martha worked as a reference librarian for Augustana College from 1974 to 1989 and was appointed as a professor emeritus of Augustana College in 1989.
Music was her lifelong passion. She was drawn to music’s ability to communicate deep thoughts without words. Each of the four daughters in the Tucker family was expected to take up an instrument and participate in family evenings around her father’s piano, singing popular songs of the day and from World War I. Martha’s choice of instrument was the cello, and she studied cello throughout grade school, high school and college.
Upon graduation from college, she worked as an administrative assistant to the faculty and administration at M.I.T. and to the president of Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey. In 1959, while living in New Jersey, she met and married H. Mayo Harris and relocated to Moline. She soon joined the Quad-City Symphony Orchestra, where she played in the cello section for 15 years.
After retirement from Augustana, she was an active member of a variety of Quad-City music and social organizations, including PEO and Music Students/Etudes. She was also a member of the Unitarian Church in Davenport (and its choir) and a resident of Friendship Manor in Rock Island from 2008-2013. She was widowed in 1995, but kept active traveling the world with her five grandchildren. Martha was a ferocious Scrabble player and a lover of murder mysteries, tennis and crossword puzzles.
She is survived by her sister, Abigail Siddall of Walpole, N.H.; and sons, Mark Harris of Western Springs, Ill., and Tom Harris of Eden Prairie, Minn.; as well as stepdaughters, Allis Gwinn and Lauren Eiel of Longwood, Fla., and Emily Margaretten of Monsey, N.Y.
A memorial service and musical tribute will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Unitarian Church in Davenport. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Quad-City Symphony Orchestra and WVIK.