M. Ben Harris


MHS Class of 1940

M. Ben Harris was born on July 8, 1922 to Ralph Dewey and Ella May Harris in Montrose, Colorado. He attended Johnson Elementary and for 7th & 8th grades attended Central School which later became Morgan Elementary. He started high school in Montrose, but attended his sophomore year at Pueblo High School. He played football during that year weighing only 95 pounds in full uniform. He did not like Pueblo so he moved back to Montrose to live with his grandparents, William and Cynthia Haney. During his senior year he was on the tumbling team and he participated in the Spanish Club, but he can not speak Spanish.

In 1940 he started college at Mesa College and in 1941 moved to CU. He was drafted into the Army on September 25, 1942. He served as a Technician 3rd grade, which is a Staff Sergeant, in France and Germany until April 20, 1946. He then returned to CU to graduate in 1948 with a BS in Business. After graduating he returned to Montrose to start his career.

Ben joined Hartman Brothers in June of 1948 as a bookkeeper. On September 15, 1957 he started working for Montrose National Bank which later became United Bank and then 1st National Bank. He started as bookkeeper and progressed to VP and then co-owner. He retired from the banking business in February of 1993.

He married Jerry Hyink on July 6, 1952. They were married until her death on January 23, 2006. He has 2 children, Bill and Dana, 4 grandsons, Ben, Jake, Matt and Mitch, and 4 ½ and counting great grand children. Ben has one brother, Haney Burtis.

He is an honorary lifetime member of the Masons joining in 1946, the Elk’s Lodge joining in 1952 and the Montrose Redcoats. He served on the Montrose Planning Commission for 4 years.

At the young age of 90 years old, Ben is still elk hunting, driving and on occasion traveling out of state. He still lives alone and gets up every morning to have coffee with his cronies.

The most important people in his life were his grandfather, William George Haney and his stepfather, Granvill Burtis, who he and his mother both married when he was 11 years old.