Burch Alan Harper passed away suddenly and unexpectedly of natural causes on July 10th. He was 53 years old.
Burch was born in Washington D.C. and spent his childhood nearby in Prince George County, Maryland. He attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School, a magnet stem high school in Greenbelt Maryland. He later went on to earn a B.A. in Philosophy and Literature from St. John’s College, a B.S.E.E. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, and a J.D. of Law from University of Michigan.
Burch taught Mathematics and Science for over 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer in a rural village located in Lesotho, a country in Southern Africa. His time in the Peace Corps, while brief, had a great impact on Burch and he often drew on those experiences and relationships built there.
During his professional career, Burch provided both Patent and Technology Licensing expertise to several companies in the Bay Area, with his most recent position as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property at Kateeva in Newark, CA. He was also an active public speaker, eager to share his knowledge with the legal community at large. Burch also recently became an Adjunct Professor and Mentor at Santa Clara University School of Law, teaching a course popular with students on technology licensing.
Burch is proceeded in death by his parents, Glenn and Vonda Harper, and his brother Mark who he lost over 20 years ago. He is survived by his wife of 13 years, Shari Harper, and their 12-year-old son, Cole Harper. He particularly appreciated being wholeheartedly embraced by Shari’s extended Gilmore family.
Burch met Shari at an event held at the SFMOMA museum in San Francisco. He later told the story of seeing Shari that night and thinking, “I’m going to marry her”. They married in 2005 on the beautiful island of St. John in the Caribbean and settled in Los Gatos, California. Cole came along 1 ½ years later and is the pride of their lives together. Burch enjoyed traveling, visiting many different countries throughout his life.
Burch was always inquisitive, appreciated learning just for the sake of it, and often had a special project of exploration underway. His most recent being music theory. His kindness and wisdom will be dearly missed by his many friends and colleagues, and especially, the Gilmore and Harper families. He will long be remembered for his thoughtfulness, humbleness, and quiet wit. That wit was often shaded in observations and empathy about the human condition.
Lawyer, philosopher, teacher, father, husband, friend – Burch was all of these. He understood mastery of each is of course elusive and rather dedicated himself to the simple practice of them all. A life well-lived yet over far too early, Burch would take great comfort in us embracing Shari and Cole and each other during this trying time.
Friends and family are invited to a Celebration of Life service to be held on Friday, September 28th at 10:30 am at Villa Regusa, 35 South 2nd St., Campbell, CA. A private burial is planned at Los Gatos Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the charities Burch honored for his family members: Alzheimer Association and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society