[KHTS] – A longtime leader in the Santa Clarita Valley and former Man of the Year died on Monday morning after an apparent heart attack.
Duane Harte, 68, chairman of the Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission and the 2003 SCV Man of the Year, died early Monday morning in a hospital.
“Duane has been involved in the community for as long as I have known him and before that,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kellar. “He’s the heart of Santa Clarita because he has done so much… We lost one of our great ones this morning. He’s a good friend. He will be sorely missed.”
Kellar noted that he saw Harte the day before his death at the Festival of Trees, where he served as the facilities chair.
In 1974, Harte moved to the Santa Clarita Valley. He and his wife, Pauline, have lived in Canyon Country, Valencia and Newhall where they raised their two daughters, Donna and Denise, according to the city of Santa Clarita’s website.
In addition, Harte was also the president of the SCV Veterans Memorial Committee and was involved in numerous organizations, including: Friends of Mentryville, SCV Historical Society, SCV Committee on Aging, SCV Historical Veterans Plaza Committee, Friends of the Libraries of the SCV and the Canyon Theatre Guild Board of Directors, according to the city’s website.
“Duane was one of those guys who was always behind the scenes, either pulling up his sleeves and lending a hand, or sharing his wisdom to guide a non-profit,” said KHTS AM-1220 co-owners Jeri Seratti-Goldman and Carl Goldman.
“He was passionate about making Santa Clarita the wonderful community it has become and keeping it that way. We know his significant incredible efforts over the years will continue to impact all of us,” the Goldman’s said. “Our hearts go out to Pauline and family and to our entire valley. We lost one of our incredible leaders today.”
Harte was the owner of Academy Addressing and Mailing, a direct mail and printing service in Sun Valley, and retired in 1990 as Senior Chief Petty Officer from the U.S. Naval Reserve after 23 years of service, according to his biography on the city’s website.
Harte was also a former chairman of the SCV Chamber of Commerce, former chairman of the Newhall Redevelopment Committee, the founding president of the SCV Senior Center Charitable Foundation and the vice-chairman of the Santa Clarita Parade Committee, according to the city’s website.
Duane Harte For City Council
“This is such sad news. I had known Duane for years, having interacted with him in my Chamber days going back to the late 90’s,” said George Cummings, a radio host for KHTS AM-1220.
Cummings mentioned that he kept Harte’s “Duane Harte For City Council” pin from his first bid in the early 2000s.
“When he ran again a few years ago, I showed it to him when he came in for an interview,” said Cummings. “He told me to hold onto it just in case he didn’t win this time, that he might try again.”
Cummings saw Harte on Oct. 30, 2015 at a city-sponsored Halloween event.
“We had a brief conversation,” Cummings said, “and he seemed so happy to have time to devote to events such as that one.”