Volume 74, Number 9 | June 30 - July 6, 2004

Obituary


Suzy Harris, 91, always had her camera with her

Suzy Harris, a photographer who lived and worked in the Village for 65 years and ran an antique shop in the West Village in the 1970s, died in her sleep on June 21 in her Grove St. apartment. She was 91.

She was recently diagnosed with cancer and struggled for several years with Alzheimer’s disease, said her friend and neighbor, Beverly Hill.

Although she retired from professional photography about 20 years ago, she seldom left her apartment without a camera, said Hill, who became Suzy’s friend 15 years ago and began managing her affairs about six years ago when her memory lapses became pronounced.

“She was part of the old Village bohemia and knew everyone,” said Shirley Flohr, the widow of Harris’s brother Theodore, who died three years ago. With her longtime companion, Jean DeLasser, a sculptor and craftsman, Suzy Harris ran an antique furniture shop at Hudson and 13th Sts. for about five years in the early 1970s. “He was the love of her life,” said Flohr, referring to DeLasser, who died in 1981.

Born Amelia Flohr on the Lower East Side to Bernard and Rose Stein Flohr, Harris was raised on E. Fourth St. near Avenue C and attended neighborhood schools. “She was always an artist and the camera was just another medium for her,” said a surviving brother, Mort Flohr, of Wilmington, N.C.

Amelia Flohr left home in her early 20s after an argument with her father, who was in the paper and newsprint brokerage business. “She changed her name to Suzy Harris because she liked the sound of it — and Harris was a name in the family somewhere,” said Shirley Flohr. On her own, Harris lived in Chelsea and then moved to the Village. Since 1940 she made her home in an apartment on Grove St. at the corner of Bleecker St., where she lived the rest of her life.

In the 1940s and ’50s her photos appeared in magazines and photo exhibits, including a show in a Vanderbilt Ave. gallery on 43rd St. sponsored by Parents Magazine. Several of her photos appeared in the New York Times, Hill said. She also wrote articles for photography magazines about using the 35-mm camera.

She did family portraits for a neighborhood clientele and recorded Manhattan street life, developing her film and printing in her apartment. “Suzy loved children and animals, they were her specialties,” Hill said. “She loved Greenwich House,” Hill said, “She’d go for breakfast and stay for lunch and took tai chi classes.”

“We loved her and we’ll miss her,” said Louis Sellas, a partner in Manatus, a restaurant on Bleecker St. “She always came here for dinner and we’d give her a glass of wine.”

“She was a feminist and an advocate of women’s lib before they even had a name for it,” said Hill.

A memorial service will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wed. July 7 at Greenwich Village Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker St.


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