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HARPER Mr. Windell Thomas Harper, Sr., age 81 of Fernandina Beach, FL passed away on Wednesday morning, May 22, 2013 at Baptist Medical Center Nassau. Born in Morgantown, KY, he was one of eight children born to the late Edward and Minnie Mae Oller Harper. After spending his childhood years in Kentucky, his family moved to Live Oak, FL as he was a young teenager. He worked on the family farm and attended school in Live Oak, where he graduated from high school in 1950. While living in Live Oak, he met his future wife, Mary Laurine Bell whom he would marry in 1952. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Harper accepted employment at Container Corporation of America as well as joined the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves. He transferred to the U.S. Army active duty and was sent to Germany where he was stationed during the Korean Conflict. While Mr. Harper served in active duty, his new bride lived with family in Jacksonville and brought their first child, Tommy into the family in 1953. Upon being honorably discharged, he returned and brought his family to Fernandina Beach where he resumed his employment at CCA. In 1958, their second son, Mark was born and in 1960, the only daughter, Lynne joined the family. Mr. Harper remained at Container as a Supervisor until retiring in 1995. He and his family had been longtime members of Springhill Baptist Church and for the past ten years have worshipped at Blackrock Baptist. After retiring, he and his wife enjoyed extensive traveling, working in his vegetable garden, bee keeping and giving vegetables and honey to friends and neighbors. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his oldest son, Windell Thomas Tommy Harper, Jr. and a grandson, Justin. Mr. Harper leaves behind, his wife of 61 years, Mary Laurine Harper, his son, Mark Harper (Cheryl), his daughter, Lynne Harper, all of Fernandina Beach, FL, two sisters, Lilly McCullough (Frank) and Avenell Hurst, both of Jacksonville, FL, three grandchildren, Caleb Harper, Susanna Vinson, Alicia Barnes, two great grandchildren, Autumn Rain Vinson, Harper Royce Barnes as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be at 11:00 am on Friday, May 24, 2013 at Blackrock Baptist Church with Reverend Frank Camarroti, officiating. Mr. Harper will be laid to rest beside his son in Springhill Baptist Church Cemetery. His family will receive friends on Thursday, from 5:00 - 7:00 pm at Oxley Heard Funeral Home. If so desired, memorial contributions may be made to Gideons International, P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214-0800 Please share his life story at www.oxleyheard.com OXLEY HEARD FUNERAL DIRECTORS Please Sign the Guestbook @ Jacksonville.com
Published in the Florida Times-Union on May 25, 2013
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