Joseph H. Harper Jr., 70, of Berlin, former State Senator and longtime New Britain resident, passed away Sunday, May 20, 2018, at his home.
Son of the late Joseph Harper Sr. and Ann (Muccino) Harper; he graduated from New Britain High School, Class of 1967, received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Connecticut, and received a master’s degree in public administration and later a master’s degree in international studies from Central Connecticut State University. During his 16 years in the state legislature, Senator Joseph H. Harper Jr., amassed a reputation as one of Connecticut’s most powerful and effective leaders; as the longtime chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, Senator Harper was instrumental in building state budgets and bringing millions of dollars back to his hometown of New Britain. A former Alderman and mayoral aide in New Britain, Harper served two terms in the State House of Representatives before being elected and re-elected six times to the State Senate. After retiring from the Senate, he worked as a deputy state treasurer, as a vice president at Central Connecticut State University and most recently as the vice president of government relations at The Hospital for Special Care. He retired from HSC in 2010, at which point he dedicated his efforts full-time to weight loss. In 2006, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the Connecticut legislature named the state office building in Downtown New Britain after Senator Harper.
Surviving is his sister, Mary Ellen Jimenez of New Britain; a nephew, Rory Breau; a grand niece and godchild, Kayleigh Jimenez and her two sons, Damien Rodriquez and Nicholas Ruberto. Besides his parents, Joe was predeceased by his sister, Carole Ann Santos, two nieces, Robin and Myra Yuskis and a nephew, Fernando Jimenez.
Funeral services are Friday 9 a.m. at Carlson Funeral Home, 45 Franklin Square, New Britain, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Church of the Divine Providence Parish, 195 South Main St., New Britain.
Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery. Calling hours are Thursday 4 to 8 p.m. at Carlson Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Harper Center for Autism at the Hospital for Special Care, 2150 Corbin Ave., New Britain, CT 06053 or to the Prudence Crandall Center, 594 Burritt St., New Britain, CT 06053. Please share a memory or note of sympathy at www.carlson - funeralhome.com