Paul Harris Stores co-founder dies

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Earl B. Harris, who co-founded former retailer Paul Harris Stores Inc. in 1952, has died at age 90.

The Indianapolis resident retired from the locally based women’s clothing retailer in 1985 but had continued a friendship and consulting role with retailers including the Simon family, which controls locally based shopping mall giant Simon Property Group.

Harris also was a mentor to many small business owners, said Mike Yonts, who is married to one of Harris’ daughters, Cheri Harris. Harris encouraged many, including himself, to go into business, said Yonts, who produces television commercials and videos.

Until recently, Harris had maintained a downtown office.

Harris, who graduated from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., and later went to law school, flew 26 missions as a radio gunner in a B-24 in 1943.

His first wife, Adele Deutch Harris, died in 1946, and he is survived by Carla Nusbaum Harris, whom he had been married to for 61 years. In addition to seven children, he also is survived by 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

After Harris sold his interest in Paul Harris, co-founder Gerald Paul continued with the company, which sought bankruptcy protection in the early 1990s.

It emerged under new management only to slide into bankruptcy liquidation in 2001. Former CEO Charlotte G. Fischer bought the trademark and other intellectual property out of bankruptcy court for $43,000.

Fischer then brought the company back under the corporate name PHS Indiana Inc. It has since folded.

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