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George N. Harper Mar 28, 1940 - Sep 12, 2019

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George "Nip" Harper, 79, of Garnet Valley, PA, gardener extraordinaire, grill master, beer devotee, acclaimed pie-baker, MacGyver clone, racecar driver and corporate pilot, passed away peacefully on September 12, surrounded by loving family.

Nip, an uproariously funny, glass half-full, never-met-a-stranger kind of guy, was the love of everyone's life. It wasn't only that he made us laugh, hung all the pictures, generously fixed and maintained everyone's cars & appliances (he had a tool for everything), concealed his stepchildren's, um, adventures, and met everyone with a gracious and gentle spirit. He was the family philanthropist. It was his kindness we will remember most. Nip spent his early years in Lima, PA – when the area around Baltimore Pike and Pennell Road was lush woodlands and rolling green fields – climbing trees, tinkering with cars and playing harmless practical jokes on his neighbors. He developed his love of gardening, cooking and canning from his mother, Emma W. Harper and his mechanical knowledge from his father, William John Harper (both deceased). A master storyteller, Nip often entertained his family and friends with stories of his bustling and energetic childhood. Early on, 7-year-old Nip learned to drive on a Model T he and his older brother, Jack, refurbished, and it was then that Nip's love of cars, mechanics, and ingeniously fixing things was born. Later, Nip and Jack would go on to build and race micro midget cars on the amateur race circuit throughout the eastern United States. As a teen, Nip took his instinctive problem-solving talents to Williamson Trade School, where he graduated from in 1959. His father’s teachings, his Williamson education and his sharp mind dovetailed into an ability to devise unconventional solutions – like the time in 1999 when Tropical Storm Floyd knocked out the power and Nip, undaunted, filled a saucepan with water for his morning coffee, secured it in a vise in the garage, and heated it with a blowtorch – earning him the nickname "MacGyver." An Air Force veteran, Nip served as a boom operator with the 100th Air Refueling Squadron from 1962 to 1966, refueling military planes over land and sea. After that, he trained to be a commercial pilot, later working for MAACO and other local corporations. During his retirement, he traveled with his "bride," Marlene; grew grapefruit-sized tomatoes in his garden; dog-sat his grandpuppies; faithfully attended Sunday "church" (aka Del Vets); watched cowboy movies; MacGyver'ed everyone's things; and communed with the hummingbirds in his backyard. We like to think he's in a perfect place, growing humongous tomatoes, drinking an ice-cold Yuengling and making the angels laugh. He will be dearly missed.

He was the brother of the late B. David "Cookie" Harper.


Nip is survived by his wife: Marlene Harper; stepchildren: Karen Forte, Linda Ashbee (Dan), Sandy Lupton (John), Deborah Forte, and Steven Forte; siblings: Jack Harper (Judy), Nancy Raynor, Carolyn Burnett, and Bonnie Harper; and nephews, niece, and grand-nephews and grand-nieces.

VISITATION: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 from 10:00-11:15 am at the Nolan-Fidale Funeral Home, 5980 Chichester Avenue Aston, PA 19014. FUNERAL SERVICE: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 11:30 am at the Nolan-Fidale Funeral Home. BURIAL: Mount Hope Cemetery, in Aston, PA. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Delaware Veterans Post #1 at 2535 Veterans Drive, Wilmington, DE 19810, or to the Wounded Warrior Project at





Service Location

Nolan-Fidale Funeral Home

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Begins: Sep 17, 2019 11:30am - 12:15pm

5980 Chichester Ave

Aston, PA 19014

Cemetery Location

Mount Hope Cemetery

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Sep 17, 2019 12:30pm - 12:45pm

4020 Concord Rd

Aston, PA 19014


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Bridget Buckley says:

Submitted on: Sep 17, 2019

We are so sorry for your loss. Nip has given us the fondest memories coming to your house every summer as kids, staying over and playing in the pool. We are thinking of you and keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Nip will be so missed by so many. We love you!