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Willie Mae Harris

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Willie Mae Harris Obituary
Dr. Willie Mae Harris, 100
Dr. Willie Mae Harris was born to The Rev. J.H. and Sarah White on Jan. 7, 1910, in Taylor, Texas. She was the 10th of 13 children. At age 12, the family moved to Brownwood, Texas, where she completed high school. She received her associates degree from Paul Quinn College in Waco, Texas.
She decided to take a course in cosmetology at Mrs. Coleman's beauty school. After receiving those credentials, she was a successful beauty operator at Elizabeth's Beauty Shop for the next 10 years.
During her tenure at Elizabeth's, she would travel and conduct Christian education courses for various churches in her district association and at district conventions. At this time, she was associated with a local church in Brownwood. The word spread quickly about Willie Mae's courses and the state requested her to conduct these courses in numerous venues.
Willie Mae taught the course because of her desire to spread the word. Because she did not charge for her services, the churches would take up ""love offerings"" to show how much they appreciated her wonderful teachings.
Willie Mae went back to school and acquired a master's degree in Christian education.
Willie Mae followed her dear brother, Leslie White, to Alamogordo. They both chose Corinth Baptist Church as their house of worship. She decided to take a civil service examination and became a payroll clerk as a GS-2. She worked her way up and in four years became a GS-6 director in human resources. Sister Harris held this position until she retired and became totally committed in the field of Christian education, acquiring a Ph.D. This became a lifelong commitment for her and her beloved husband, Tootsie Harris, whom she married in 1935. He was also one her biggest fans when she was teaching. Willie Mae never had children, but became a godmother to Lesa Brown and Clifford Holloway when they were first born.
She pledged Zeta Phi Beta, an academic sorority for women. She was honored as ""Woman of the Year"" by Mount Olive Baptist Women and was chosen as the first ""Woman of the Week"" in a series honoring local woman. She is also listed in ""Who's Who among American Black Women.""
She also received Rotary honors as Citizen of the Month. Willie Mae was honored as Woman of Distinction, served as secretary of the Alamogordo Public Library Board, board member of the Cancer Society, member of the Gerald Champion Hospital auxiliary, chairman of the volunteers and newsletter editor. She also served the Child Day Care Center board and the board for New Mexico Health Systems Agency. She was also the director of Christian education at Corinth Baptist Church.
Willie Mae befittingly decided to journey home on Thanksgiving morning around 6:30 a.m. In the last days, she told her caregivers and Lesa, ""No mor. No more pills, no more hospitals and no more doctors."" She said, ""God will heal me in his own way.""
Willie Mae is survived by her two nephews and their families, Bert A. White and Edwin D. White, both of Texas; two godchildren, Clifford Holloway and Lesa Brown; and her grandson Osaze. She is also survived by her adopted son Albert Fuentes and his wife, Connie, and Albert Jr.; and many wonderful friends and caring neighbors.
A funeral service will be conducted 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, 2010, at the Alamogordo Funeral Home chapel. The family will greet friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010, at Alamogordo Funeral Home.
The care of Mrs. Harris has been entrusted to Hamilton-O'Dell Funeral Home. To sign the online register book, please visit www.hamiltonodell.com
Willie Mae was so gracious and grateful for the many years of support and care giving that all of you offered over the years. She said thank you for every task offered to her, both small and large.
She would not want us to mourn over her home-going for she always said:
""I will rest in the arms and on the breast of my Jesus some day!""
Today is that day!
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Nov. 27 to Dec. 27, 2010
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