Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019
7:00 PM
St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Bakersfield, CA
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Memorial Mass
Friday, Aug. 16, 2019
2:00 PM
St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Bakersfield, CA
View Map

Lois Carolyn Harris Bissell

1933 - 2019
Lois Carolyn Harris Bissell Obituary

July 27, 1933 - August 6, 2019

Lois Carolyn Bissell was born in Manchester, Iowa, the youngest of seven children of Warren S. Bissell and Lois A. Slocum Bissell. The Great Depression took the family farm and the family moved to Grundy Center and then Cedar Rapids.

While attending Coe College, Carolyn met Merle Harris and married him in 1953, horrifying his mother. Carolyn went to work soldering radio parts until shortly before her first child, Steve Harris, was born in 1955. Her second child, Julie Harris, was born in 1957 while Merle was away at boot camp. Merle and Carolyn divorced in 1981.

Carolyn enjoyed the adventure of being an air force wife which fostered her love of travel. She was especially thrilled to live in England for three years during the early 1960s. She was an Anglophile all her life. Although she never discovered from which Scottish clan some of her ancestors came, she was tickled last Christmas when her daughter bought and gave her a square foot of land in Scotland, making her an honorary Lady of Dunans.

Once her children were teenagers, she returned to college and completed her BS and MS degrees. She finally retired her LMFT license last year, having served the people of Kern County for years as a counselor. She was a warrior for people dealing with HIV and AIDS.

Carolyn cheered for the Chicago Bears and loved watching soccer/futbol games with her grandson Kris. She traveled often with her two sisters, going on several cruises overseas. In later years, her motorhome helped her explore the USA and spend weeks at Pismo Beach.

She was active for many years in scouting. She was a den mother and never let the boys know she was terrified of snakes. She led girl scout troops and taught the girls not to shriek. She was a voracious reader and a passionate singer with a lovely soprano voice, participating in many choirs and choruses over the years. She thought her household was incomplete without a dog. She muttered and fussed her way through detailed cross-stitch patterns, feeling very proud when they were complete.

She met Mary Ellen Gatti in 1983. They were a devoted couple until Mary's death from cancer in 2006. Mary was Roman Catholic and Carolyn converted to the church. Carolyn enjoyed making rosaries at St. Francis of Assisi Parish and could be counted on to make lots of them.

Carolyn's family and friends expected her fighting spirit would see her through her recent surgery, but complications stole her away. Thanks go out to Dr. Bildzukewicz, Dr. Johnson, and all the other physicians, nurses, technicians, and staff at USC-Keck Hospital who fought so hard for her.

She leaves behind a son, Steve Harris (Mary); a daughter, Julie Harris; two sisters, Joan Kuhn and Jan Nelson; four grandchildren, Keith Harris (Jenny), Karen Callahan (Chris), Jennie Schrum (Drew), and Kris Andrews; an "other" daughter, Jennie Gorman; and many nieces, nephews, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

A rosary will be held at 7:00 PM on Thursday, August 15, 2019 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Bakersfield, CA. Memorial Mass/funeral will be held at 2:00 PM on Friday, August 16, 2019 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

Published in Bakersfield Californian from Aug. 14 to Aug. 15, 2019
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