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Shirley Marie Harris

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Shirley Marie Harris, retired educator and amateur artist, died of cancer Monday, Sept. 15, 2008, at St. David's South Austin Hospital in Austin, Texas. Mrs. Harris, a resident of Alamogordo was 66.
Born Shirley Marie Powell on March 16, 1942, in Peoria, Ill., to the late Abe Lincoln and Ethel Helen Powell, the mother of two attended the Academy of Our Lady for two years before graduating from Woodruff High School in Peoria. A member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, she worked at Proctor Hospital as a nursing assistant and at St. Francis Hospital as a surgical technician.
In the summer of 1965, she married the late Leonard Harris of New Canaan, Conn., an Air Force officer who served in Vietnam. They had two daughters and in 1985 the couple was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base near the city of Alamogordo, where the family later resided.
After her husband retired as major, Mrs. Harris was employed in 1988 as a fifth and sixth grade teacher at North Elementary School. In August 1992, her husband, who had taught history at Alamogordo High School, passed away. In May of this year, Mrs. Harris retired after teaching 20 years for the school district.
Mrs. Harris received her associate's degree in liberal arts at Thomas Nelson Community College, Va.; her bachelor's in education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.; an her master's in education at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Ariz.
She was an accomplished, amateur artist who had a zest for life. She had a passion for teaching and the performing and visual arts. In Alamogordo she was a science-fair organizer and theatrical programmer for her school and won awards at the Otero County Fair for her paintings. She also volunteered for the American Heart Association and regularly attended services at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
She is survived by her two daughters, Linette (Peter) Harris Murray of Austin, Texas, and Cheryl Harris of Baltimore, Md.; a sister-in-law, Judith Drew of Bridgeport, Conn., and niece Robbin (Phil) Drew Elliot of Milford, Conn.; four brothers, Michael Powell of Bloomington, Charles Powell of Chicago, and Joseph and Paul (Agertha) Powell of Peoria; three sisters, her twin, Shirleen Powell, Regina Powell, and Kay (Eddie) Ellis, all of Peoria; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, three brothers, and two sisters.
Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21, at Simons Mortuary, 912 W. John H. Gwynn Jr. Ave., in Peoria, where flowers can be sent. Contact information is 309-674-2638. Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 22, at Sacred Heart Church Parish, 504 Fulton Street, following a second visitation at 9 a.m. at Simons Mortuary. The Franciscan Friars will officiate. Her body will then be laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery, 7519 N. Allen Road. A memorial service in Alamogordo is pending.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4, 2008
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