The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Jane E. Harmer


October 8, 2020

Jane Elizabeth Keatley Harmer, a 1955 graduate of Wahkiakum High School, died at her home in Campbell, California on October 3 after a long illness. She was 83 years old.

Jane Harmer was born in Astoria on February 18, 1937 and grew up in Skamokawa. She was the daughter of Robert Keatley, a dairy farmer, and Eva Keatley, a primary teacher who taught in both the former Skamokawa and Cathlamet grade schools.

After high school, Ms. Harmer earned a 1959 degree in home economics at the University of Washington and a year later became a licensed dietician after completing an internship program at the New York Hospital of Columbia University. She later added a master’s degree from San Jose State University.

Ms. Harmer had a career as a dietician and co-owner of a Campbell-based company—HM Composite—that provided various food services for institutions in some 15 states, mostly on the East and West coasts. After she and her partner sold the company in 2002, she devoted much of her time to Campbell community affairs, such as supporting the Ainsley House museum, the local branch of the nationwide CERT program for providing disaster relief and genealogical research.

She began her career in Sacramento for Allied Sysco, a food distribution company, where she met and married Geoffrey Harmer, a software designer. They moved to Campbell in l962.

It was in Campbell that she and her partner, Victoria Major, founded their company to provide dieticians and food management services for institutions like hospitals, prisons, retirement homes and schools. By law, these organizations needed licensed dieticians to oversee their food services but often did not need nor often afford to hire them on a fulltime basis. Thus HM Composite hired dieticians as its own employees—up to 25 or so at a time—who then divided their working weeks between two or more institutions, providing both the required part-time oversight for the institutions and fulltime employment for the dieticians concerned.

In addition, HM Composite provided food plans, budgeting advice and staff training for its clients, among other services. In 2002 the company was sold, allowing Ms. Harmer and Ms. Major to retire from fulltime employment.

She then became active in community affairs, including support of Ainsley House, a local museum, the Campbell branch of CERT (a nationwide program to supply disaster relief in emergencies) and in genealogical research.

Jane Harmer is survived by her husband, Geoffrey, resident of a care facility in Davis, California; son Craig Harmer, a software engineer, daughter-in-law Kyoko Harmer and granddaughter Chihiro Harmer of San Francisco; daughter Stacey Harmer and son-in-law Julin Maloof, both professors of plant biology at the University of California at Davis; and daughter Lisa Harmer, a pediatrician in Campbell who provided knowledgeable and devoted care during her mother’s long illness.

Other survivors include her sister Nancy Kuehn of Salem, Oregon and two brothers: James of Pasadena, California and Robert of Washington, DC.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no memorial service is planned. Burial will be at the Fern Hill Cemetery in Skamokawa. Arrangements are by the Dowling Funeral Home.

- Paid Obituary -


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