Passing of Dr. Jack Harris '44
It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Jack Harris, Southwestern alumnus and professor emeritus, on April 17. There will be a memorial visitation at The Gabriels Funeral Chapel in Georgetown Saturday, April 21 from 10 a.m. to noon . Please keep Jack's family and friends in your thoughts and
We also invite you to attend the Homecoming Worship
Service Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012 in the Lois Perkins Chapel. During this
service, we read the names of alumni whom we have lost in the past year.
Jack will be remembered during this portion of the service.
Jack Harris, Class of 1944 and Professor Emeritus
On the afternoon of Tuesday, April 17, 2012, Jack Thomas
Harris of Georgetown passed away peacefully at home with his family at
his side. He was 88 years old.
Jack Harris was born on Sept. 1,
1923 in Georgetown to Fannie Brady Harris and Sam Blackwell Harris. He
was the third of four brothers and grew up in Georgetown in the family
home on Ash Street. He attended Southwestern University and then The
University of Texas at Austin until he was drafted into service for
He was stationed in New Jersey, Wyoming and Minnesota. While in
Minnesota, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Far Eastern Area Studies
and trained as a translator with the Military Intelligence Service.
During this time, he learned the Japanese language and that experience
sparked in him a lifelong interest in history, travel and foreign
cultures. He enjoyed telling stories about his adventures in the US
Army, including the time he fainted during training and fell off a
telephone pole because
he had skipped breakfast.
After an honorable discharge from the
US Army, he moved to New York City, where he attended The New School
for Social Research and worked as a set designer, copy editor, and
commercial artist. During his time working in the New York theater
community, he became acquainted with such laudable actors as Rod
Steiger, Bea Arthur, Harry Belafonte, Tony Curtis, and Bela Lugosi.
Years later, Jack ran into Mr. Steiger in Los Angeles. Mr. Steiger
sure got grey” and Jack responded, “You sure got fat.”
leaving New York, he lived in San Antonio and Austin, where he met his
future wife, Norma Dunlap. He continued as a commercial artist working
for E.M. Scarbrough & Sons, Goodfriend’s Department Store, and
Joske’s. In 1961, Jack and Norma were united in marriage in the chapel
of the United Methodist Church at 24th Street and Guadalupe with family
and friends in attendance. In 1967, after
teaching and building a family, he earned his PhD in Literature from UT
with a thesis titled The factory hand in the English novel: 1840-1855,
and he and his family spent the next two years in Ohio while he taught
at The University of Toledo.
In 1969, he returned to Georgetown
with his wife and three children: Brian, Stephen and Angela, where he
was a tenured Associate Professor at Southwestern University. There, he
taught English Literature, foreign literature in translation, film
appreciation and other requirements of the curriculum until his
retirement in 1990. Following retirement, he continued to learn and
teach and especially enjoyed teaching at Senior University, Georgetown.
All his life he enjoyed listening to and playing music, reading and
traveling. The British Isles, Mexico, Japan, India, China, Thailand,
Greece, Italy, France and Spain were all beloved destinations.
Throughout his life he enjoyed art and art history, and he authored
on Pre-Raphaelite painting that were published. He was a talented
potter, gardener, and collector of folk art from around the world. He
was curious until the end, still learning about the Harris Family
genealogy and doing research online, all the while keep up with old
friends and making new ones.
He was preceded in death by his
parents and his oldest brother, James B. Harris of Shreveport, LA. He is
survived by his wife of 50 years, Norma Dunlap Harris; son Brian Harris
and his wife
Michelle Gee Harris and children Colin and Elizabeth of Dearborn, MI;
son Stephen Harris and his wife Bridget Patke Harris and their children
George and Poppy of Austin; and daughter Angela Harris and her husband
Perry Duke of Austin. He is also survived by his brother Sam E. Harris
and wife Mildred of Georgetown, and Charles B. Harris and his wife
Clarolyn of Ft. Worth. Numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and family
friends survive with the funny stories and fond memories Jack always
A memorial visitation will be held at the Gabriels
Funeral Chapel at 393 North IH-35 in Georgetown on Saturday, April 21
from 10 am until noon.
The family encourages contributions to
Scott & White Hospice, 5353 Williams Drive, Georgetown, TX 78633,
who have been a tremendous support during the last few weeks of his
life. We wish to thank his nurse, Melissa Smith for her kindness during
his last days.