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One of the Notable people that Louis J. Flower Buried was Milton Whateley Harrison who died August 8th, 1949 at 60 yrs old.

Shortly after his service Louis J. Flower Received a letter from Akron Ohio. The letter came from Irene Seiberling Harrison’s brother James Penfield Seiberling who succeeded his father F.A. Seiberling as president of the Seiberling Rubber Company.

The letter dated August 16, 1949 states:

“Dear Mr. Flower:

It is impossible for me to describe in words the great comfort which you gave to me and, I am sure, to other members of the family by the manner in which you attended to the disposal of the remains of Mr. Harrison and in the assistance which you rendered at the Memorial Service.

To the proper discharge of your professional duties - which in the case of most Funeral Directors is so often accomplished with a cold and sometimes callous disregard of the feelings of the bereaved – you gave natural and sincere expression to the genuine sorrow within your own heart over parting in this life at least, with one for whom you held respect, high esteem, and possibly even a measure of affection.

Penfield Seiberling letter dated August 16, 1949

I have heard the Lord’s Prayer repeated countless thousands of times but never in my life to date has its rendition moved me more than when you repeated it – so simply, so quietly, so sincerely, in the brief interment service in the Ferncliff Chapel. For the memory and inspiration of that moment I shall indeed be your debtor for the rest of my life. I am sure that the memory of no man on this earth could received a finer benediction or a sincerer tribute then that – for all of which I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Yours sincerely,

J. Penfield Seiberling

James Penfield Seiberling (1898 – 1982)

While Mr. Harrison was famous himself at the time. He was married to another well-known person Irene Seiberling. She as you might recall is the daughter to the famous Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company founder Frank A Seiberling.

Irene was the second child of seven of Frank A. and Gertrude (Penfield) Seiberling.

On December 1898 at the mere age of eight Irene pulled the switch (valve) that started the steam powered machinery that began the production of Goodyear tire and rubber. As there family and fortune had grown her parents had wanted to build an estate (Stan Hywet) based upon some the castles and Manor houses in England. In April 1912 at the age of 22 Irene was given the task of booking their trip.

Hearld Statesman Obituary on F.A. Seiberling 1859-1955

Irene, and her parents Frank and Gertrude had gotten many ideas, but on the final day of there tour in England there guide had convinced them to stay an extra day to see a 300 year old castle that he heard was being torn down which meant they could see how these magnificent structures were built from the inside.

That meant they would miss their ocean voyage home and would have to re-book there passage. It was a good thing that guide had convinced them to stay because the Ocean voyage that there daughter Irene had booked all 3 of them on went on to become the most famous Ocean liner ever. The Titanic.

Early in 1923 Irene had organized a Tea Day to educate the young women of the day in the need for a unified and coordinated community group. This group would be the precursor to the United Way Fund. She is also credited with marching for women’s suffrage and volunteered for community service during World War I.

Christmas Day in 1923 Irene Sieberling married Milton Whateley Harrison, a New York banker and lawyer, in Akron , Ohio. The couple then moved to New York settling in the Yonkers / Bronxville area. There they raised three children Sally, Robert, and Gertrude.

Both Irene and Milton were very active in Yonkers. Irene in the City Manager league and the “Good Government” group. Milton, the chairman of the Yonkers Municipal Housing Authority.

Milton W. Harrison was the Secretary of the American Bankers Association which represented 16,500 Banks at the time. He was a Trustee of the Bowery Savings Bank in Manhattan and editor and publisher of the Savings Bank Journal.

Irene Seiberling marries
Milton Whateley Harrison
December 25, 1923

In a New York Times article dated April 15, 1917 Milton had released a report on how America could raise 75 billion dollars to “fight the Germans” during WW I.  By pushing the Americans to save and to dispense of luxuries the goal, he said, could be met.

Mr. Harrison had been quoted numerous times in the N.Y. Times and Time magazine in his day. Ironically he had predicted that air travel, new in its day, would threaten the Rail Roads which, had a monopoly on travel in this country. “The railroads would do well to regard aviation with more respect, according to a report by Milton W. Harrison, president of the Security Owners' Association. He asserted that it is "entirely possible" for air-planes to carry passengers profitably without government subsidy and that, "while it is probable many air lines always will be dependent upon the mails for profit, the trend toward profitable passenger service is definite.” For the article Click here

After Mr. Harrison died August 8, 1949 at 60 yrs., Irene was summoned by her father to come back to the Stan Hywet estate in Akron, Ohio to help run it. It took a million dollars to run it.  There she live in one of the service buildings used to support the estate, specifically the Gate Lodge where the buildings superintendent use to live. This building is historical itself for its there that her brother Fred and his wife Henrietta lived (after the superintendents death in 1923). It is there that an introduction of 2 people turned into a world changing conversation. Henrietta belonged to a religious fellowship movement the Oxford Group that believed ordinary people could chose to change there own lives.

She knew Doctor Bob (Dr. Bob Smith) and his wife Anne and knew he had alcohol problems. After getting a call for help from an alcoholic named Bill W (Bill Wilson) she had the idea of inviting both over for dinner on Mothers day 1935. Dr. Bob at first was reluctant to meet Bill W. that day. But after dinner, Henrietta had invited them both to chat in the small library at the Gate Lodge for what was suppose to be a 15 minute conversation. That conversation turned into a five-hour conversation in which they laid out the principals, which would become the foundation for AA, Alcoholics Anonymous.



Taken in 1980 Frank Seiberling Jr., Irene Harrison, Willard Seiberling, Penfield Seiberling at Irene Harrison's 90th birthday the last surviving children of F.A. Seiberling and Gertrude his wife.

Irene Seiberling Harrison at 105yrs old had campaigned for the removal of carcinogens, fluorides and chlorine in the drinking water of Akron. On January 21, 1999 at 108 yrs old Irene had suffered a fatal heart attack in her home at the Gate Lodge. She was rushed to a local hospital and died.

* Interior of Funeral Home- The interior of the funeral home has been painstakingly painted by a set designer for the New York City Metropolitian Opera. As you enter the front door you will notice the hand painted ceiling greeting you. Through out the home there are hand painted murals on the walls and ceilings. Entering the stairs to the lower level you will wind through our Rose Garden Trellis.

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