Elyse & John: The Love Story Behind Harney & Sons Teas

Harney & Sons
Elyse and John Harney in front of an ornamental cherry tree in their backyard

Text by James Norwood Pratt • Photography Courtesy of Elyse Harney

Elyse and John Harney are still a team, even now, several years after John’s death on June 17, 2014. She speaks to him aloud as if he were in the room at times. Love endures; death is not the end of it. 

Those of us who were close to them know how they invariably greeted the morning. Waking first, ex-Marine John would say, “You’ve had your sleep, and I’ve had mine—time for us to rise and shine.” Clarence, the dachshund, wakes Elyse now, but she can still hear John saying it every morning.

Elyse Deublein, an 18-year-old from New Jersey, got a summer job at the Vermont resort hotel John’s uncle owned. This was no accident, as she learned later, for John had gone through the applications and chosen her for the job saying, “This is the girl I’m going to marry.” By summer’s end, their long engagement had begun—the wedding would wait until Elyse had completed her four years of college and John his service as a Marine. They finally began married life at the Cornell School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, where John enrolled and where Elyse got a job. John knew what he wanted—a country inn to operate and house his family.


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