• Craig “Lefty” Harris was a self-taught pizza maker who mastered various styles for Lefty’s Gourmet Pizza and Ice Cream in Niwot, Colorado.
  • Prior to his pizza career, Harris made a contribution to science as part of a team of astronomers who discovered the rings of Neptune.

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Craig “Lefty” Harris, the owner of Lefty’s Gourmet Pizza and Ice Cream in Niwot, Colorado, left behind a legacy of service—and amazing pizza—after dying in a traffic accident on Thursday, September 29.

According to the Longmont Times-Call, Harris had little cooking experience when he founded the pizza shop in 1994. A self-taught pizza maker, he learned to make some of the country’s best-known pizza styles—including New York, Chicago and St. Louis styles—which his restaurant offers to this day.

Harris also made an important contribution to science, the Times-Call reported. He attended the University of Colorado-Boulder and was part of a team of astronomers that discovered two faint rings circling Neptune in 1982. The discovery was reported by the New York Times that same year.

Lefty’s Gourmet Pizza / Instagram

Often pictured in a brightly colored tropical shirt on the restaurant’s social media, Harris was a charismatic and generous man who hosted movie nights at his pizzeria on Saturdays. He had plans to bring in investors to help him open additional Lefty’s locations.

“He dedicated 28 years to this place,” his son, Christopher Harris, told the Times-Call. He noted that several couples had gotten married on the Lefty’s patio.

“I can’t count the number of late nights he’d stay open for people who were on their first date on the patio,” Christopher said. “The amount of pizzas he gave me and my teammates after ball games—I can’t count them.”

“He’s made a huge impact on so many people,” Christopher added, “and it’s just become so much more prevalent with his passing.”