Mr. Harkness was born in McDonough, one of three sons. He had a variety of jobs before he attended aircraft mechanic school and worked at Bell Aircraft during World War II. He opened his first business — the Huddle Grill off North Avenue near Georgia Tech — in 1947.
“Some of the students would come over and work just for a meal,” said his son, Robert Harkness.
In 1951, Mr. Harkness sold the restaurant and worked a few other jobs before Orkin hired him. He worked there nine years as well as another pest control company before founding his own operation. Years later, he helped a church friend, Terry Parsons, launch a pest control business.
“He helped me start my business in 1986 and stayed involved with me until he was 88,” said Mr. Parsons, owner of GTA Services in Loganville. “He had a basic philosophy on how to do good business: Charge a fair price, do a good job, be dependable, and you’ll have all the business you can stand.”
Mr. Harkness appreciated family as well as hard work.
“I’ve seen him work all day, then come home and cut the grass,” Robert Harkness said. “Then he’d go to my cousin’s house — they had four boys — and cut their hair. It was always important for him to help.”
Additional survivors include a daughter, Nancy Harkness Kelly of Winston-Salem, N.C.; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.