R. Charles Harker

Charlie Harker was from Ohio and admired Ohioan William Howard Taft so much that he wanted to attend Yale, as Taft had. Charlie loved Yale and served as an Alumni Fund class agent and was reunion gift chair for several reunions.  Although he smoked constantly and was a very conservative Republican, I enjoyed spending time with him.  So, apparently, did lots of other people. The great admiration and love that Charlie engendered in anyone who met him was demonstrated at his memorial service, where there were many hundreds in attendance, including not only friends and classmates, but also co-workers from his first job on Capitol Hill to his last position at the American Physical Therapy Association, which has named an internship in his memory.

Sarah Shapiro 


I did not know R. Charles (Charlie) Harker until September of 1994, when I became the General Counsel for the American Physical Therapy Association and discovered that my classmate was the head of the Association’s government affairs department. Unfortunately, I had little chance to get to know Charlie, as he died in December of that year.

I can report that Charlie was greatly admired by the other longtime staff members, who still like to tell stories of practical jokes he played. The APTA established an Internship Program in Charlie’s name in 1995 designed to allow a physical therapist student to work in the Association’s government affairs department and attend hearings, fundraisers, and other Capitol Hill events. The Association’s Health Policy and Administration Section has established the R. Charles Harker, Esq Policy Maker Award to recognize an individual whose actions have significantly affected health policy, has demonstrated leadership in health policy making at the state or national levels, and has initiated a policy shift of broad magnitude for the physical therapy profession.

Jack Bennett

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