He was also an avocational racecar driver and had competed in Sports Car Club of America races and demolition derbies. He was a restorer of old cars and a founder of the Washington Automotive Press Association, which gave him a lifetime achievement award when he retired in 2006. He subsequently wrote freelance articles about cars.
John Robert Harter was born in Washington on Feb. 7, 1940. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1958 and from American University in 1962. In high school and college, he was a television production assistant at Channels 4 and 5 and assisted in the coverage of the 1961 inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.
In addition to his interest in cars, he was also a hiker. Over three summers, he hiked the 2,181-mile distance of the Appalachian Trail.
His marriages to Jane Bissett and Ann Koch ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife since 2003, Hilary Halsey Harter of Washington; a son from his first marriage, John R. Harter III of New York City; and two grandchildren.
Notable deaths in 2019: Elijah Cummings, Cokie Roberts, Toni Morrison and others we have lost this year
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