Harrison married E.J. Harrison in 1930 and two years later started the garbage company with her husband. E.J. fashioned a truck from several car bodies that he called “Chop Suey” and began hauling his neighbors’ trash to the Ventura dumps for 75 cents a load, according to a news release.
In its first year of business, Harrison Transfer Co. had 150 customers. Today Harrison Industries serves about 90,000 customers in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and employs 400. The company also is known as E.J. Harrison & Sons.
Myra worked with her husband to build the new company, keeping the books and enrolling in classes at Ventura College to develop her business skills while raising her family. She was active in the community as a generous benefactor, and she was a pioneer in the women’s movement.
Myra was born Marina Velarde, one of 12 children. She was a direct descendant of Lt. Jose Joaquin Moraga, a member of the DeAnza party, which founded the San Buenaventura Mission.