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Grissom-Clark Funeral Home

Raphael Harris, Sr.

01/11/1928 - 09/04/2013

Obituary for Raphael Harris, Sr.

Mr. Raphael Harris passed.

A celebration of life for Mr. Raphael Harris, Sr. will be Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM at Saint Philip AME Church, 240 Candler Road, SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30317, Rev. William D. Watley, Ph. D., pastor. Interment, Westview Cemetery.

Visitation will be Tuesday, September 10, 2013 from 6:00-8:00PM at Grissom-Clark Funeral Home, 227 East Lake Dr. (at Memorial Dr.) 404-373-3191 www.grissom-clarkfh.com.

Raphael “Ray” Harris, Sr. was born on January 11, 1928 to Cleveland Harris and Alberta Ross Harris in Hogansville, Georgia. Upon the death of his father, Ray left school at an early age to support his family. In 1946, he met and married Lola Inez Gay, and they became parents to Willie Jo. After struggling to find stable work in Hogansville, Ray moved to Atlanta, Georgia for better opportunities. He soon secured

PROCESSIONAL Order of Service Reverend Priscilla Adams Presiding employment as a truck driver for Murdock Hennis.

In July 1949, Raphael married Mary Elizabeth King and adopted her son, Jimmy. Ray and Mary Elizabeth had 6 more children. He was married to Mary Elizabeth until her death in 1999. Murdock Hennis Trucking eventually became Spector Red Ball, and he was employed for this company for 30 years. In 1982 (at age 54), he accepted early retirement as the company ceased operations.

Raphael’s faith in God was strong as he started planting his roots in Atlanta. Initially, he joined Pleasant Hills A.M.E. Church, but in 1953, he became a member of St. Philip A.M.E. Church on Wylie Street in the Reynoldstown community of Atlanta. In 1977, Raphael Harris and others followed as the Reverend George Moore led the relocation of St. Philip A.M.E. Church to Candler Road in Atlanta, Georgia. At various times during his 60 years of membership and service, Raphael Harris was a dedicated member of Choir Number 2 (now the W. N. Griffin, Jr. Gospel Choir), the St. Philip Mass Choir, Usher Board Number 1, the Trustee Board, and Steward Board Number 2. At many times he served in roles such as president, treasurer, or other officer of those organizations. Raphael Harris remained a faithful member of St. Philip A.M.E. Church until declining health prevented his active participation.

Raphael cherished his family and was instrumental in implementing the biannual “Harris Family Reunions” which commenced in the early 1990’s. He was also passionate about square dancing and was an active member of the “Mahogany Spin Tips”. He journeyed to square dancing competitions in several states, including Georgia, Florida, and California. The group often came in first place and received many trophies and ribbons. He also regularly attended the Senior Center and participated in line dancing and multiple activities. He enjoyed dancing, visiting sick and shut-in members of the church, monthly breakfast/lunch meetings with friends, and was an avid season ticket holder for the Atlanta Braves.

Raphael Harris departed this life on September 4, 2013 – approximately one month after having a stroke. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Elizabeth Harris, son, Raphael Harris, Jr., brother-in-law, Bobby Long, Sr., sisters, Annie Ruth Lemon, Cleothal Dennis, Willie Lou Thomas, and Rebecca Slaton; brothers, O.C. Harris, Roscoe Harris, Casey Harris, and Matthew Harris.

Those who now cherish his memory include: children, Willie Jo Harris Head, Jimmy Lee King, Jeanell Harris Ford, Wayne H. Harris, Cleveland A. Harris, Timothy Harris, Darlene “Peaches” Harris, Deborah Jones, and Linda Womack; devoted sister, Christine Swint; grandchildren, Dr. Delphanie Head, Kimsherian Shelton (Kenn), Vanessa Ford, Matthew Ford, Adrianna Ford, Trenton Harris, Raphael “Tre”Harris III, Brittny Williams, Brisharri Griffin, and Branton Griffin; and close friend, Katherine Staton. He also has a host of great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends who will miss him dearly.

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