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Pioneer footprints endure

April 1, 2016
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Communities hitting "middle age" suffer the same bittersweet reality as do its residents hitting the same milestone: We come into our own but, to our sadness, often find ourselves saying goodbye to many of the very people who made our progress possible.

The city of Cape Coral lost one of those people Easter Sunday as another of the city's "pioneers" passed away.

Mary Elizabeth Harborn, one of the first sales associates for the community's founding developers, Gulf American Land Corp., died at the age of 93 here in the community she had a contributing hand in since the 1950s.

Article Photos

Mary Elizabeth Harborn

Ms. Harborn began working for Gulf American in January of 1958 in an office on the corner of Old 41 and Pine Island Road when the Cape was little more than a concept: There were no houses, just innumerable lots laying fallow from which, with effort and a whole lot of smart marketing, a city would spring.

Ms. Harborn became not only one of the first people to work in the city-yet-to-be but one of the community's first residents. She went on to build a small house, joined one of the city's first houses of worship, Faith Presbyterian Church, and raised a family here.

She also co-founded one of the community's first businesses, opening what would become Mary E. Harborn Realty in 1964 on Cape Coral Street, next door to Raso Realty, which was founded by another pioneer family.

And through it all, she enjoyed the Cape and all the growing community came to offer. An avid golfer and boater, she was a member of Royal Palm Yacht Club, and the Palmetto- Pine Country Club, her family said, adding she owned and piloted her own boat until she was in her 80s.

Those who knew her best said she will be greatly missed.

"She was a beautiful lady both in her career and in her style," said former Cape Coral Councilmember Gloria Raso Tate, whose father, Joe, also worked at Gulf American Corporation before founding Raso Realty. "She was just a very kind and gentle lady."

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 5, at Faith Presbyterian Church. Visitation will start at 10 a.m.; entombment will take place at Coral Ridge Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Faith Presbyterian Church are suggested.

Those who may wish to share a thought or memory are invited to do so at .

- Breeze editorial



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