Dr. John Wallace Harris went to be with our Lord on February 1, 2022 at the age of 80.
John was born on August 28, 1941. He grew up in Bardolph, IL on his family farm. He went to Western High School and played football. His team was undefeated all three years (his junior year they were unscored upon). He received his Bachelor's degree at Western Illinois University and his Masters and PHD from Indiana University. In 1968, he moved to Cookeville, TN to begin work as a Professor of Biology. He worked at TN Tech for 49 years! He was a professor of Biology for 45 years and then served in the College of Interdisciplinary Studies for four years. He served many years as the Director of the Honors Program at TN Tech and he was very active in the Tennessee Academy of Science.
John married Caroline Lee Edwards in 1979 and became a loving father to three step-children. He was also an active member of Toastmasters International and the Lions Club for many years. In 1991, he was a Fulbright Scholar and went to Aurangabad India to lecture at the University there for more than three months. John was the ultimate Chicago CUBS fan. He waited his entire life for them to win the 2016 World Series. That was a high point in his life. He was a member and Sunday school teacher at Cookeville First Methodist Church.
“Papa John” is who he was to our family. He was a loving father and husband. He was a very compassionate and forgiving person. He enriched the lives of numerous students, graduate students, colleagues, friends, and family. He loved his wife, his kids, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren. He was a good man.
Dr. John W. Harris is preceded in death by his mother, Betty Cremeans Harris, father, Wallace Charles Harris, step-mother Esther Bowman Harris, and brother-in-law Dave Goeke. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Caroline Harris, his children, Mary Cay McKelvey, John McKelvey (Geneva) and Larry McKelvey (Susan), two sisters, Kathy Harris and Audrey Goeke, fourteen Grandchildren, six Great Grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 19 at 1 pm at the Cookeville First United Methodist Church in Cookeville, TN. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Cookeville Evening Lions Club in his memory.
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