LT. COL. MAX R. HARRIS

Posted on Nov 02, 2011 - 04:45 PM

Lt. Col. (Retired) Max R. Harris of Gloucester, entered into eternal rest on Oct. 26, 2011 after a long, fulfilled life.

He was a retired United States Air Force officer, Math and Science teacher at Gloucester High School, and the Navy’s procedural writing expert on welding for the Newport News Shipyard and Dry Dock Company (now Northrop Grumman).

Col. Harris was born June 2, 1917 in Danbury, Neb., to Thomas and Minnie Harris. His six siblings preceded him in death.

Max was commissioned in 1944 as a recruiting officer for the west coast and then taught aircraft mechanics at Yale University where he met his future wife, Julie. As a result of his stations during his military career, Max earned a B.S. degree from the University of the Philippines, after attending the Universities of Nebraska and Illinois, with a major in Political Science.

After retiring from the Air Force, Max and his wife Julie moved to Gloucester County, first in Ware Neck; and later at York Shores on the York River where Max enjoyed many years of fishing and crabbing with his grand- and great-grandchildren. He and Julie became very involved in community activities, president and treasurer of the Rosewell Foundation, president of the Museum Group of Gloucester County, on-going actor in the Gloucester Community Theater; member of the Choral Society, and many more community activities. Max volunteered at Langley AFB Hospital in the pharmacy and internal medicine for 19 years where he was honored several times as Volunteer of the Year.

Max was a Renaissance man; a published author, excelling in poetry and short stories, accomplished mechanical engineer, painter, and artist. He enjoyed playing the piano and a good round of golf. Max loved his home "Rowena" on the York River that he shared with his wife, Julie, of 64 years.

After full retirement, Col. Harris and Julie spent many years traveling throughout Europe and Asia. It can be said that Max stepped foot on every continent on this earth and visited every state in our country. Max gave unconditional love, support, and respect to his entire family and friends.

His wife Julia Forté Harris preceded him in death in 2010.

He is survived by his daughter, M. Joy Mitchell and her husband Gerald from Meridian, Miss.; daughter, Patricia M. Harris from Charleston, S.C.; son, William R. Harris and his wife Christin from Arlington, Texas; son, Christopher Harris and wife Amy from Napierville, Ill. Col. Harris was blessed and proud of his 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Graveside funeral service conducted by the Rev. James Cowles will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Rosewell Memorial Garden Cemetery with military honors. The family will receive friends Friday from 7-8:30 p.m. at Hogg Funeral Home, Gloucester Point.

In our father’s memory, contributions may be sent to St. Therese Catholic Church, 6262 Main Street, Gloucester, Va. 23061 or the Abingdon Volunteer Fire and Rescue, P.O. Box 9, Bena, Va. 23018.