October 13, 1932 – July 28, 2021
Never again will friends and family hear calls for “Lorraine” echoing through the Ausprich family home. Dr. Harry Ausprich of Philadelphia passed away on July 28, 2021. He was 88.
Harry was born in Buffalo, NY, on October 13, 1932, to Celia and Alfred Ausprich. An only child, he was doted on by a house full of aunts. Harry was shy and spent most of his childhood with his cousin and best friend Buddy. They loved listening to records, going to movies and playing with Harry’s cat Tootsie. It was when Harry entered Bennett High School that he discovered the theater. His performances there gave him self confidence and ultimately led to him pursuing theater and speech as an undergraduate at Buffalo State Teachers College (now the State University of New York at Buffalo). There, Harry earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and education, graduating with honors, and received two scholarships that enabled him to immediately move on to the University of Wisconsin, where he completed a Master’s degree in theater and broadcasting in 1955.
In 1950, while a student at Buffalo State, Harry met Lorraine Beyers and life was never quite the same. Lorraine shared his love of learning and the arts and they spent the next 70 years together having adventures that took their family around the country and even off to China. They were married for almost 64 years.
Early in his career, Harry Ausprich arrived at Memphis State as the Chair of the Department of Speech and Drama (1963). He was greeted by an underfunded, short-staffed department, tucked in the corner of the administration building, but he relished the challenge. In five years, he attracted a wealth of talent and, with their help, he built a program that a former colleague described as having “so much thrust that each year it was an adventure just to be in the atmosphere he created.”
Harry graduated with honors from Michigan State University’s communications and theatre doctoral program. As a faculty member at Iowa State University, he directed 12 major theater productions, in addition to teaching and publishing. At the University of Memphis in Tennessee and at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Harry managed the rapid growth of the departments, instituted new degree programs, and initiated summer repertory theater programs.
Harry carried his infectious enthusiasm for education and the arts everywhere he went in a career that took him throughout the midwest and eventually to Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where he served as President from 1984 to 1993. Harry began his administrative career as Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of Northern Iowa in 1970 and then went back to his alma mater SUNY Buffalo for five years as the Founding Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
In 1978, he moved on to Kent State University in Ohio when he became Dean of the College of Fine and Professional Arts. In addition to his responsibilities as dean, he served as chair of the May 4th Memorial Committee and was Dean of the Blossom Music Program. Following his tenure at Bloomsburg University, Ausprich became the executive director of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, after serving on its board for years while at Bloomsburg. He retired to Philadelphia in 1995 and continued teaching and consulting at institutions that included Rowan University and Bucks County Community College. In 2005, Buffalo State honored Harry with the Distinguished Alumnus Award as the President Emeritus of Bloomsburg University.
As President of Bloomsburg University, Harry encouraged the growth of the arts and humanities in the university community and raised millions of dollars for scholarships and for the upgrading and remodeling of the University’s performing arts facilities. He also returned to the classroom, occasionally teaching honors classes related to speech and communication. He inaugurated programs in diversity—for the community as well as for Bloomsburg University—and established the university as the cultural center for the region.The development and expansion of Bloomsburg’s Celebrity Artists Series during his tenure was among the most satisfying personal and professional accomplishments of his career. He felt it gave students an experience that many of them otherwise might have never had -- very often it was the first time they had been to an opera, ballet or a classical concert.
Throughout Harry’s years of professional success, his family was always his first and most important priority. He loved being a dad and a grandfather and took pleasure in sharing the things he cared about with his children and grandchildren. Sarah and Emily grew up attending student productions at Kent State and may have even run around backstage once or twice. They have fond memories of many family vacations -- from amusement parks, to cross country road trips, to Broadway Shows in New York City. His daughters and their friends were often awakened on weekend mornings by the sounds of operas and symphonies echoing through the house. Harry loved watching Road Runner cartoons and movies with the girls, often sharing bagels with lox and cream cheese in front of the television. More recently, he was excited by his granddaughter’s discovery of vinyl records and encouraged her to go through his basement stash and pick out whatever she wanted. Nothing made Harry happier than having his family gathered around him.
Harry filled his retirement years visiting friends and family around the country, attending concerts and arts performances, enjoying meals at his favorite restaurants and watching entirely too much Law and Order and MSNBC. Although his last year was difficult because of the pandemic, he loved showing off his daily choice of “Happy Socks” and watching old movies on TMC.
Harry Ausprich was preceded in death by his son, Bryce Alfred. He is survived by the love of his life, Lorraine, his daughters Sarah Ausprich (Stephen) and Emily Grizer (Ronald), grandaughters Sophia and Lillian Grizer, Abbey the cat, and a community of friends who loved and appreciated him and became family.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Dr. Harry and Lorraine Ausprich Endowed Scholarship at SUNY-Buffalo State.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
September 15, 2021
What fun we had during those years in Kent. Dinners, parties, and Cleveland Symphony concerts. The world will not be the same without Harry and Jim. Sondra Cooney
August 30, 2021
So very sorry for your loss. I’ll never forget Harry’s congenital nature or his ability to make both kids and adults feel apart of any family gathering. Although many years and miles divided us, I was proud to know Harry and his beautiful family. May good and loving memories soon fill your lives. “ Bill Jr.”
August 27, 2021
Fortunately our family is very close. So I’m thankful that we all have so many memories of Harry. Too many stories and adventures, and not enough words.
I’ll never forget the visits where we got to spend time with him. All the times he burned himself on the sparklers at the July parties, his love of Buffalo, his boisterous laughter, and certainly no one can forget the echo of “Lorraine” throughout my grandmother’s house during visits.
The greatest thing about Harry was that he threw himself into life and he loved with his whole heart. I speak for my mother, my father, and my sister when I say, we will never forget the impact that Harry had on our lives. And we will always cherish the memories that he gave us.
August 27, 2021
My father met Harry while they both attended MSU, and my life was filled with rich adventures with "Uncle" Harry & "Aunt" Lorraine. Family vacations consisted of driving to Memphis, Cedar Rapids, IA, Terre Haute, and Buffalo thru the 60's & 70's to spend time with these 2 wonderful people. I am deeply saddened by this loss, but am a far better person for having "Uncle" Harry in my life.
Bonnie and idereen Kolczynski
August 27, 2021
We will miss the visits but have the memories ❤️
Bonnie and idereen Kolczynski
August 27, 2021
We will miss the visits but have the memories love you ❤️
August 27, 2021
My fondest memories of Uncle Harry involve trips to crystal beach when I was just a child ,his love for Buffalo and most recently our "trip down memory lane" during his last visit, but most of all his huge heart! Rest in peace "Uncle" you've earned it.
August 26, 2021
I married into the family here in Buffalo, but oh what an impact Harry has had on my heart. His love of family. His inquisitiveness about each person he encountered. Yes, the shouts of “Lorraine” will ring in our ears and hearts for a long, long time. Yearly visits have gotten harder for Harry and Lorraine over the years, but they persisted. Hell bent on seeing Lorraine’s sister, Idereen and the rest of the family if possible. I will miss his critique of the local Italian restaurants and his warm hugs. God speed Harry ❤️