James Eugene "Gene" Harris, 90, of Red Bank, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on February 4, 2021.
He was a loving and generous son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and friend. He was affectionately called “PapPaw” – the name he picked to be called by his granddaughters – and numerous family members and friends called him PapPaw, too. At DuPont, however, where he worked for 42 years, everyone called him “Foxy.” A life-long Chattanoogan, he was born Oct. 9, 1930, in Chattanooga and attended Jefferson Street Elementary School, East Side Junior High and was a 1948 graduate of Central High School. He spent the majority of his working years at the Chattanooga DuPont plant, hiring-on the year the plant opened in 1948 until he retired in Dec. 1990, just days before the birth of his first granddaughter. He worked mostly in Textile Maintenance, Beaming and the Lock and Key Shop. He had also previously worked for Western Union (“Until they found out I was under-age,” he sheepishly admits), a newspaper delivery boy, Sears & Roebuck and a local machine shop. He helped out often at his wife’s business, Mountain View Ceramic Center, which they owned and operated from 1962 until 2007.
He loved his Lord and his family and especially enjoyed spending time with his granddaughters. He took them on numerous week-long vacations and antique sales. Gene had been an active member of White Oak United Methodist Church for 60+ years and the Highlander Sunday School Class. His favorite hobbies were antiquing and traveling. Throughout his life, he enjoyed other activities such as stamp and coin collecting and reading history. He had also been previously active with Scenic City Friends, Chattanooga Historical Society, Friends of the Library, Civil War Roundtable, Camp Ocoee Board of Directors, Chattanooga Half-Century Club and YMCA Heritage Club. Often heard saying “Ocoee There!” YMCA’s Camp Ocoee was perhaps his favorite place on Earth.
He started attending Camp Ocoee as a young boy in the late 1930’s and in the early 1940’s through Kiwanis Club scholarships. He had fond Camp Ocoee childhood memories and would proudly recall “That’s where I first learned there was a God … and I thought He lived at Camp Ocoee.” He continued to generously support Camp Ocoee all his life with in-kind services and donations. He proudly served on the Camp Ocoee Board of Directors and would make regular – often unscheduled – Camp visits. Over the last 40 years, he never missed Ocoee Family Camp every Labor Day weekend.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Jimmie; his parents, James Walter Harris Jr. and Ollie Torbet Walker; brother, Edwin Harris and sister, Elizabeth Hinton.
He is survived by two sons, David Harris and Don (Patti) Harris, both of Chattanooga; two granddaughters, Amanda Harris of Decatur, GA, and Allison (Carter) Allen of Chattanooga; sisters, Emily Walston, Elsie Kinley and Marjorie Cronin, all of Chattanooga; dear friend, Francis “Cricket” Patterson of Fort Oglethorpe and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family will receive friends Monday, Feb. 8, from 5-8 p.m. at Lane Funeral Home on Ashland Terrace.
A Celebration of Life service will be at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at Lane Funeral Home Coulter chapel with Reverend Amy Nutt officiating.
Interment will follow at 2 p.m. at Chattanooga Memorial Park in White Oak. Pallbearers will be Carter Allen, Zac Pailet, Lavon Pickle, Mark Shackleford, B.J. Davis, Lamar Lynch and John Freeman. Honorary pallbearers are Latta Johnston, David Mays and Sylvia Sherrill.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to YMCA Camp Ocoee Scholarship Fund, 111 YMCA Dr.; Ocoee, Tn. 37361.
Arrangements are by Lane Funeral Home, 601 Ashland Terrace, Chattanooga, Tn. 37415, 423 877-3524, www.lanefh.com.