Edmond J. Harnett, of Eastham, Massachusetts, died on June 12, 2020 at Maplewood at Brewster,
of complications from COVID-19.
Ed, as he was known throughout his life, was born in New York, the son of John J. Harnett and Mary (Ryan) Harnett. A first generation American and the first of his family to attend college, he graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in history. Ed went on to obtain a master’s degree in history from Western Connecticut State University as well as additional education and certifications from the University of Connecticut, Storrs.
Ed’s vocation and avocation were always education. He joined the faculty of Carmel High School in Carmel, NY in 1961, beginning his career as a high school history teacher. Throughout his more than 30-year career he would teach a broad range of subjects in addition to history, including sociology, anthropology, government and political science. His passion was US History, where he developed the advance placement curriculum and led many students to successful completion of the AP exam. He had the unique ability to bring history to life, making it much more than something that was learned from books. To him, history was something you live with, shaping your life, affecting how you act and determining what you believe in and are willing to fight for. He successfully shared his wisdom and passion for the subject with hundreds of students during his career. He served as chairman of the History Department for the last several years of his career before retiring to Cape Cod, where he had vacationed with his family for many years.
During retirement, Ed remained active and passionate about education. He was a long-time member of the Orleans’ Coffee Club, enjoying friendship and spirited debate with the clubs’ many members. Ed was an active member of the Eastham Historical Society, serving as the curator for the Old Schoolhouse Museum, relaying the history of the building to local schoolchildren, residents and tourists visiting Cape Cod. He also served as an elected member of the board of the Eastham Public Library, helping to shepherd the construction of the new library on Samoset Rd.
Ed was married to the late Kathryn (Kay) Harnett for 57 years, originally meeting Kay while they were both students at NYU. He is the brother to three sisters, Joan, Eileen and Elizabeth, and one brother, David. Ed leaves behind three children, Bob, Noreen and Matt, two daughters in law, Sharon and Robyn, and three grandchildren, Katie, Elijah and Mackenzie, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Given the current environment, a celebration of Ed’s life will be held when we can all safely gather. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Eastham Public Library, 190 Samoset Rd, Eastham, MA 02642.