For many East Coast college wrestling followers over the last 25-plus years, John J. Harmon was recognized as ‘Mr. EIWA Wrestling’.
While Harmon never stepped on the mat as a wrestler, he became an avid fan while attending Lehigh University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1959. He became actively involved in wrestling upon his retirement from a career as a commercial programmer and systems analyst.
Harmon’s entry into the reporting of wrestling included a stint as a play-by-play wrestling announcer for a Bethlehem radio station in the 1970s. He was named editor of the National Mat News in 1983 which he ran for seven years. In 1990 Harmon founded the EIWA Newsletter, which was recognized as the Wrestling Publication of the Year in 2001. He published the newsletter regularly for the next 25 years as a detailed source of information for fans regarding all EIWA schools. He was also the de facto EIWA Sports Information Director from 1990-2015.
In 1996 Harmon and Jay Hammond collaborated to publish the second edition of the History of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association. They repeated this with an updated third edition in 2004.
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, OK named Harmon to their Board of Governors in 1996. He served on their Board for 17 years and was one of the original major contributors to an endowment fund created by the Hall of Fame in 2007. Harmon was an inductee and recipient of the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, New Jersey chapter, of which he was co-founder and treasurer.
Harmon received the 2012 Bob Dellinger Wrestling Writer of the Year award, presented annually by the Amateur Wrestling News to the country’s top wrestling journalist.
At Lehigh, Harmon and his wife Elaine funded the renovation of Grace Hall and were instrumental in helping to fund the Caruso Wrestling Complex. The Harmons also supported the head wrestling coach endowment and the John J. Harmon ’59 Wrestling Scholarship.
A lifelong resident of Lawrenceville, NJ, he was regarded as one of the world’s greatest railroad buffs.
John Harmon passed away in September 2017. He leaves behind his wife, two daughters and four grandchildren.