Paul Harper, Nashville businessman passes

Paul W. Harper, age 79, passed away on Saturday, March 24, 2018.

“It is with a heavy heart that the ‘heartbeat and joy’ of our family, Paul Harper, has passed,” said his daughter Linda in a Facebook post. “We appreciate all the love and support. Our family has been truly blessed by all of your support of both my mom and dad over the years. I have shared my dad with so many of you over the years, and he loved it when you called him Pops.”

Born on July 7, 1938, he was the youngest and last surviving child of the late Willie Van and Nellie Lou Harper of Hartsville, Tenn.

Paul and his wife, Sen. Thelma Harper, were married for over 60 years. A notable businessman, Harper had a string of businesses, but is most remembered for his famed restaurant, ‘Harpers,’ which was located on historic Jefferson St. near Tennessee State University.

“I used to bring my sons there every week after story time at Akeblan bookstore. He would give them a free meal and always talk to them. He will be missed,” said a former patron.

“We will have the egg hunt this Saturday in honor of my husband Paul,” said Sen. Thelma Harper. “In 1983, my husband was my first and only sponsor of the hunt. We just wanted to do something special for the kids in our neighborhood. With his backing and the help of some great volunteers, we made it happen and now we’re celebrating 35 years.”

He was preceded in death by his beloved son Dylan W. Harper; three sisters — Anna L. Sullivan, Stella B. Wright and Beatrice B. Wright; three brothers — Johnnie Harper, Arthur Harper and Nelson Harper.

Paul leaves to cherish his memory: wife — Sen. Thelma M. Harper, Nashville Tenn.; devoted daughter – Linda; and son-in-law — Bobby (Atlanta, Ga.); goddaughters — Donna Wallace and Regina Kinnard; godson — King Dunlap V; and close friend — Charlene Stuart.