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James HARRIS Obituary

Family-Placed Death Notice

HARRIS, James Dr. James Hoffman Harris, 87, Pastor Emeritus of Briarlake Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, died on September 25, 2013 in Hickory, North Carolina. He was the sixth child of Leroy and Effie Hoffman Harris of Augusta, Georgia. Dr. Harris attended public school including Richmond Academy and graduated with an Arts Diploma from the Junior College of Augusta (now Georgia Regents University). He received a BA in English from Baylor University, Waco Texas; his Masters of Divinity from New Orleans Theological Seminary; and an honorary doctorate from Mercer University in 1977. Dr. Harris' pastorates included the Arlington Mission of Southern Baptist Church (Baton Rouge, LA); Assistant Pastor-First Baptist Church, Biloxi, Mississippi; Founding pastor of Trinity Baptist Church-Biloxi, MS; Patee Park Baptist Church, St. Joseph, Missouri; and Briarlake Baptist Church-Atlanta, Ga, where he served 29 years until his retirement in 1988. While at Briarlake, he led the congregation to build the campus on Lavista Road and helped to sponsor 32 mission churches, including Smokerise Baptist-Stone Mountain, and Atkinson road in Gwinnett County. Briarlake named the Harris Chapel in honor of Hoffman and Norma Harris and The Harris House, a residential facility for adults with special needs, in honor of Dr. Harris' early ministry. In retirement, he was interim pastor of Dunwoody Baptist for six months. Dr. Harris officiated at over 2000 weddings and many funerals during his career. In 2007, he moved to Hickory, NC where he and Mrs. Harris were members of First Baptist Church Hickory. During his career, Dr. Harris was very active in denominational and civic life. He served on the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board); chairman of the Executive Committee of the Georgia Baptist Convention; member of the Home Mission Board; moderator of the Atlanta Baptist Hospital Commission; trustee of Decatur Hospital, Mercer of Atlanta, Shorter College, and the Mainland Council of the Hawaii Baptist Academy. He received the Faculty and Alumni Award from New Orleans Seminary in 1974 for outstanding Pastoral Ministry, an honorary doctorate from Mercer University, and the Service Above Self from the Decatur Rotary Club. Hoffman Harris was a leader--a man of vision and determination. He was generous to friends and strangers alike. He had a keen sense of justice and modeled compassion and respect for people of all cultures and walks of life. He loved to travel, entertain, quote poetry and tell jokes. He found joy in his family, his faith, and lifelong learning. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Norma Nuhrah Harris; daughter, Beth Harris Brandes and her husband, Dr. Rand Brandes of Hickory, NC; daughter, Chris Harris and her partner, Sally Hand of San Francisco, California; a grandson, Dr. Blake Harris Brandes and his wife, Valerie Brender of New York City; sister in law, Ruth Harris; several nieces and nephews and his wife's family, whom he cherished- Wyolene Treadway, Norman Joseph, Carl Joseph of New Orleans and their families. His three brothers, Leroy Harris, Jr, Charles Harris and Dan Harris and his two sisters, Carolyn Hefner and Grace Pearre preceded him in death. His wife's brother, John Nuhrah also preceded him in death. The service will be held at Briarlake Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia on Monday, September 30th at 11 AM with burial at Westview Cemetery in Augusta Georgia at 4 pm. The family will receive visitors at A. S. Turner and Sons Funeral Home in Decatur, Georgia on Sunday September 29th from 3-5 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Briarlake Baptist Church, 3715 Lavista Rd., Decatur, GA; New Orleans Theological Seminary, 3939 Gentilly Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70126; the Hawaii Baptist Academy, 420 Wyllie Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817; or your . The family also wishes to thank Trinity Village, Hickory and Catawba Valley Medical Center for their compassionate care of Dr. Harris in recent weeks. A.S. Turner and Sons Funeral Home and Crematory.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sept. 28, 2013
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