James R. Harris (“Jim”) was born on May 9, 1931, in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He was the only child of Paul Arthur Harris and Edythe Weber Harris. Jim attended Indiana University and was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity where he served as president. He was graduated in 1953, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and received a commission in the United States Air Force. He met Betty Jo Fisher on a blind date in Dallas, Texas. Within the year, they married in Corpus Christi on November 27, 1954. Jim was stationed at Rammstein Air Force Base in Germany. After completing his tour of duty in the Air Force, he and Betty moved back to Texas. They lived in Austin while Jim attended the University of Texas School of Law, graduating with the class of 1959. In law school, Jim won the Hildebrand Moot Court Competition, was the recipient of the James R. Daugherty Scholarship, and served as the Student-Assistant Dean to Dean W. Page Keeton. After graduation, Jim and Betty returned to Corpus Christi where he practiced law for 60 years. He was an accomplished attorney designated a Texas Super Lawyer, Best Lawyers in America, and was selected a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was a founding partner in Harris, Cook, Browning, Jordan, then Hyden, Harris & Thomas, and finally Harris & Greenwell. He was known as “The Bulldog” because of his tenacity and success in the court room.
Jim was proud of his Christian faith and attended the First United Methodist Church in Corpus Christi. He was a former member of St. Luke’s Methodist Church where he taught Sunday school for over 30 years while also serving as an officer and board member. He coached Little League and served as President of the National League Club. He served as President of the Corpus Christi Museum and was a member of the fundraising team shortly after its construction. He was proud of his athleticism, and jogged every morning for 49 years at the Ray High School track. He loved football, but most especially his beloved University of Texas Longhorns. He was a tireless worker who continued working on business projects even until his last day. He loved going to work and gave express directions to give unending thanks to his loyal employees, including Linda Johnson and Margaret Callaway, whom he considered to be an extension of his family. He also wanted to express thanks to his physicians, Andrés Nisimblat, M.D., and Paul Heath, M.D., and their staffs for their concerned care. Finally, he wanted to thank those who cared for him towards the end of his life, especially Reyna Zapata and Patsy Ramirez.
Jim was an avid adventurer with an intrepid heart. He once searched for buried treasure in Mexico with a map found in his father’s basement (he found none). He followed Kipling’s travels throughout Central Asia and India, and explored China and Japan. He embarked on safaris in Africa, fished for salmon in Alaska, toured the whole of Europe, and visited all fifty states. He had a fervor for learning and loved to share these experiences with his family. His enthusiasm for life knew no bounds, and he encouraged all who were bold enough to accompany him to explore and gain as much from this world as possible.
However, of all his impressive achievements and rich experiences, Jim was most proud of his ever-growing family which he viewed as his greatest legacy. He embraced his role of great grandfather with brio—he loved to cuddle and hold every new baby and was a constant presence at every celebration. He was predeceased by his parents, Paul Arthur and Edythe Weber Harris, and his loving wife of 59 years, Betty Fischer Harris. He is survived by his two children, Jeffery Scott (Suzette) Harris and Betsy Harris (Andrew) Greenwell, his seven grandchildren, William Fischer (Meredith) Harris, Elizabeth Greenwell (Darryn) Sneller, Christiana Elizabeth Harris, Mary Abigail (Travis) Kiel, Frances Caroline Harris, Christopher Michael (Bethany) Greenwell, and Andrew Edward (Mary Paige) Harris. He was especially proud of his eight (and counting) great grandchildren: Piper Felíz Kiel, Ryder James Kiel, Blaise Francisco Sneller, Zephyr Amoreena Kiel, twins Roque Telemachus and Caio Augustus Sneller, Fisher Invenio Greenwell, Andrew Beasley Harris, and two more arriving soon.
He will be fiercely missed—cheers to a life extraordinarily well-lived.
Viewing will be between 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 9, 2022, at Reid Chapel at Seaside Memorial Park, with funeral service at 1:00-1:45, with internment thereafter.
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