Addie Lou HARRIS

HARRIS, Addie Lou, 98, of Spring Hill, FL, being very frail understandably due to her advanced age of 98, passed away on October 28, 2012, after suffering a stroke and a heart attack. It is a sad day in Florida for the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. The National Garden Clubs, Inc. and the Deep South Region with the passing of Addie Lou Harris, an irreplaceable friend and benefactor to all. Addie Lou began her interest in garden clubs in Chattanooga, serving as President of the Ferger Place Garden Club, a charter member of the Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. Upon moving with her husband Reese to Freeport, Grand Bahamas, she became a charter member of the Freeport Garden Club, serving on many committees, then becoming President. In 1977, she became an honorary member. In addition to having lived in the Bahamas, Addie Lou and Reese lived in Cuba, but when Fidel Castro took over, they had to leave the island, without any of their possessions. Going through a harrowing and stressful time, they lost everything they had in Cuba. They then moved back to Tennessee for a short period prior to relocating to San Jose, Costa Rica. Addie Lou was named an Honorary Life President of the Garden Club of Costa Rica and the Costa Rica Judges Council. She served on the National Garden Clubs, Inc. Board of Directors as International Affiliates Chairman for many, many years as well as on the Calendar Committee and was given a Presidential Citation for the excellent work she had done for NGC as International Affiliates Chairman. She was also a member of the Golden Circle with NGC, a highly prestigious honor given to a small select group of outstanding members. Together with Bob Thomas, Addie Lou's dear friend, she represented NGC at the Chelsea Flower Show in England in the 80's where she won the Silver Gift Award. She and Bob had many accomplishments in the world of Floral Design as they traveled the world to teach, to judge flower shows and to gather rare and unique plant materials. A lasting legacy of their partnership is CFAA, Creative Floral Arrangers of the Americas, a design study group that evolved from Bob's original design group, AGFA, American Guild of Flower Arrangers. CFAA is a dynamic and growing organization, and Addie Lou played an active, important role in that organization. She served as President and later as an Advisor. Addie Lou was President of FFGC in 1991-1993, at which time she won many awards for FFGC such as the Bronze Seal for Wekiva Youth Camp, the Silver Seal and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award to name a few. During her administration, Florida won more awards than any other State. She was a Guardian of Gardening member, a Patron, a Life Member of NGC, FFGC and the Deep South Region. She established the Hall of Fame, being the first member and was also a Pillar of Pride member. She established the W. Reese Harris Scholarship Fund. As Chairman of the Headquarters & Endowment Trustees, she was instrumental in remodeling the FFGC Headquarters Building which was truly her pride and joy. The "Paths of Sunshine Garden" came into being under her direction and she established the "Color Our Garden" fund to help maintain the grounds. She was honored with the "Gala in the Garden" function in September 2011 celebrating 50 years of the FFGC Headquarters Building which she loved so much. Addie Lou also traveled extensively to Costa Rica where she owned a beautiful home, the Cayman Islands, Central and South America and her beloved Tennessee as well as Spring Hill and Deerfield Beach in Florida. The theme of her administration with FFGC was "Unity Through Sharing" and one would agree, she exemplified the concept of sharing. She was beloved by all and was an inspiration to everyone; she graciously shared her time, talents, knowledge, energy and resources. And, most of all, we will always treasure her friendship and love. She is survived by her family and many loving friends. There will be a short graveside service where her ashes will be interred next to her beloved husband, William Reese Harris, at the Rankin Cemetery in Dunlap, Tennessee, on November 10, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. Donations may be sent in her name to the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. for the Headquarters & Endowment Trustees Fund, 1400 S. Denning Drive, Winter Park, FL 32789-5662.


Published in TBO.com on Nov. 4, 2012