Local corporate leader was eldest son of pioneering family that
first brought trash collection and recycling to Ventura County
VENTURA, California – Local business and philanthropic icon Ralph Harrison has died. The longtime president of E.J. Harrison & Sons trash collection company died on Saturday of natural causes, his family announced. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Ralph was born in Ventura on Nov. 14, 1934, to E.J. and Myra Harrison, who founded Harrison Industries nearly 92 years ago, in 1932. Ralph later bought a ranch in Bardsdale, where he last lived.
The eldest of the Harrisons’ three sons, Ralph joined the family business in 1963 and watched it grow from a relatively small local company to the major corporation it is today. Working with local community partners at Gold Coast Recycling and Agromin, Harrison Industries currently serves 90,000 residential and commercial customers throughout Ventura County and in Carpinteria, in Santa Barbara County.
As corporate president, Ralph was in charge of Harrison’s fleet operations, the maintenance and service departments and inventory controls and he headed up an extensive research and development department. Most of Harrison Industries’ innovations are due to Ralph’s ingenuity and he held many patents.
Ralph’s son Lynn Ralph Harrison, a longtime Harrison employee, took over his father’s responsibilities eight months ago and will continue to do so. Ralph’s brothers, Jim and Myron, also will continue to run the business.
In addition to his leadership at Harrison Industries, Ralph was well known throughout the Ventura County community. He was longtime president of the Ventura County Waste Disposal Association, which was formed in the early 1970s by his father, and also served on the California Refuse Recycling Council. As a member of these and other professional trash/recycling organizations, Ralph attended many trash industry seminars and conferences throughout the United States and Canada. He was active in other ways in his community, as well. Among his many affiliations, he was a longtime board member of the Ventura County Fair Foundation.
Ralph along with his brothers gave generously over the years to countless community organizations and causes. Among their most notable donations, the Harrisons made the largest contribution to the building of the new Community Memorial Hospital, and the Ventura Boys & Girls Club has a clubhouse in Saticoy because of Ralph and his brothers’ generosity. The Santa Clara Valley Boys & Girls Club was also very close to Ralph’s heart, as were local 4-H clubs, to whom he often donated livestock to raise.