William M. Harris; Professor, Attorney


William Merl Harris, a longtime Los Angeles Valley College chemistry professor and a patent law attorney, has died at a Mission Hills hospital. He was 60.

A Sepulveda resident, Harris died Saturday of cancer, said Elizabeth Friedman, chairwoman of the chemistry department at Valley College.

Born in Los Angeles, Harris served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1952 and worked in the product-testing department for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Harris, who earned a doctorate in organic chemistry from UCLA and a law degree from Loyola Law School came to Valley College in Van Nuys in 1965.


He taught chemistry and business law and served as chemistry department chairman for 21 years before stepping down from the post in June. Harris worked as a patent law attorney in recent years and continued teaching and practicing law until his death. Harris was a member of the American Chemical Society.

He is survived by his wife, Ilse Annaliese Harris, and brother, Don Harris of Claremont.

Visitation is planned from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday at Forest Lawn Mortuary, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Hollywood Hills, which is handling the arrangements. A funeral is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Old North Church at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, and burial will be in Forest Lawn Memorial-Park.