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Elmer Harris

1916 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Elmer Harris Obituary
Dr. Elmer Harris

Huntsville, AL

Dr. Elmer Jacobs "Moe" Harris, 97, of Huntsville, passed away Monday, June 23. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mitchell Luther Harris and Annie Docia Jacobs Harris and by two wives, Ellen Virginia Moncrief Harris and Leatrice VanLandingham Harris. Survivors include sister, Ruth Harris Peet; brother, Mitchell Harris; children, Lucile "Lucy" Harris Schardt, Rod Harris, and Mary Ellen Harris; grandchildren, Susan Schardt and husband Denny Guy, Matthew Schardt and wife Kate, Kristen Harris Folkman and husband Chris, Daniel Harris and wife Linda, Brian Foscue, Virginia Foscue, and four great-grandchildren.

Dr. Elmer Jacobs "Moe" Harris, the son of a Baptist minister, was born September 27, 1916 in Ozark, AL and spent his boyhood years in Prattville and Guntersville, AL. He attended Wake Forest College from 1934 -1937 and Tulane University School of Medicine from 1937-1941. He completed an internship at Charity Hospital in New Orleans in 1942. In World War II, Dr. Harris served in the 24th Medical Division of the US Army. He received a Purple Heart for service in Hollandia New Guinea in 1944 after a severe injury to his left leg. After several experimental surgeries and 3 years of recuperation at Army Hospitals, Moe regained use of his left leg. Throughout his life, Moe was thankful to be alive and to be able to walk.

Moe completed a Residency in Radiology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City in 1950. Dr. Harris was a founding member to the Radiological Group at Mississippi Baptist Hospital in Jackson. In 1952 he was instrumental in establishing the first Radiological Technician Training School in Jackson. Changes in Radiology from development of single films in a darkroom to digital films and advances in radiation oncology occurred during Dr. Harris' practice with the Radiological Group from 1950-1990. Dr. Harris felt fortunate to have worked in an intellectually challenging and exciting field with constant improvements in diagnosis and treatment.

Moe was a founding member of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS and an affiliate member of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Huntsville, AL. His donations helped secure the acquisition of a permanent home for Operation Shoestring in Jackson. Shoestring's Ellen Harris Center is a living memorial to his first wife. During his last years, Dr. Harris resided at Brookdale Place at Jones Valley Farm in Huntsville, and in his final 9 months at Floyd E "Tut" Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville. At both Brookdale and "Tut" Fann, he cared deeply for the other residents and staff. The family has great appreciation for all those who enhanced the quality of his life. Dr. Harris is known for his bowtie and his snorkel. He wore a bowtie each week to church, and swam 15 Olympic laps several times a week in his mid-nineties. In his last years he became a student of history, listening to at least three audio books per week provided by the Huntsville Public Library.

He had a will of iron, foresight, keen insight, an ability to focus on matters of importance, and an ability to produce optimal outcomes. He always looked for the best in others. On one grim night in New Guinea in WWII, Dr. Harris promised God that if he could just live through the night, he would be the best person he could be and do the best he could for the rest of his life. He lived through the night and he kept his promise.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Covenant Presbyterian Church, 4000 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211, Covenant Presbyterian Church, 301 Drake Avenue, SE, Huntsville, AL 35802, Operation Shoestring, 1711 Bailey Avenue Jackson, MS 39203, or the .

Memorial services will be held at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 4000 Ridgewood Rd., Jackson, MS at 2:00 PM on Sunday, July 13 followed by a reception at the church. (

Published in Clarion Ledger on June 29, 2014
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