Ruth W. Harris

December 23, 1917 - October 16, 2010

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HARRIS, Ruth Weil. Beloved wife of the late Thomas L. Harris, much loved mother of Prof. Laurilyn J. and the late Wendy, fond sister of Sidney Weil. There will be no memorial service at her specific request, as contained in the following farewell message: Hi! It’s me! (OK, Purists, it is I.) To all my dear friends, special friends, and “forever” friends (and you know who you are)– Have you ever noticed that memorial services or “celebration of life” services are always scheduled when you already have somethng else planned? Decisions, decisions! And whichever one you choose to attend, you feel a bit guilty about missing the other one? Then, the church must be opened, heated or air-conditioned, piano readied, minister and soloists selected and prepared, bulletins printed–all for people who know you or they wouldn’t be there. The Food Committee or caterers have also been busy (another room to be prepared, tables set up and decorated, plastic plates and eating utensils provided, and FOOD!!: various small sandwiches, olives, etc., thin-sliced veggies with dip, cake, cookies, coffee, soft drinks and anything else anyone can think of), not knowing whether there will be 20 people or 200! And all that clean-up! I’d rather send a donation to Neediest Kids of All. So I did! I’ve had a wonderful life. Oh, there have been terrible dark spots when I shrieked at God, such as the illness and death of my precious, talented daughter Wendy at age 13 from leukemia, and my husband Tom’s 15+ year fight against congestive heart disease. But let’s look on the bright side. How many families get to spend four years on Staten Island, NY, and get to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Bronx Zoo, and Natural History Museum (which had a real–I think–stuffed whale hanging from the ceiling). And Tom volunteered my services to work every Tuesday evening with the local cerebral palsy group (which, to be honest, scared me to death the first time I went), many of whom became fast friends by the time we left. We had a ball! We saw Broadway plays and gave a couple of our own. Then there were the three years in Rome (yes, Italy!), where I learned so much. My very first sight of the Colosseum was at sunset! With the American Women’s Association of Rome, I went on frequest excursions and saw almost every cathedral, church and basilica there–and again made more interesting friends than I could keep up with. After that, it was back to Cincinnati, which was far from dull, especially after I earned a Master’s degree in education. During my life, I have run my own nursery school; worked in pre-school; served as an investigator for the Welfare Dept. and then as Intake Supervisor for the Metropolitan Housing Authority; taught Sunday School (even in Rome for three years–in ENGLISH); was Secretary of the American Women’s Association of Rome; sang in choirs; am an Elder in the Presbyterian Church; was a Lay Pastor; was active in three community Litle Theatre groups; was President of the College Hill PTA and Vice President of PTA Council Board; had a Brownie Troop of 17 girls which somehow morphed into 37 Girl Scouts; was Neighborhood Chairman for Girl Scouts (PTA and Girl Scouts simultaneously–not advisable); and wound up my career teaching first grade to underprivileged children for years. In addition, I was a Circle Chairman at church for 27 years and co-founder of our own small group from 1975 on. A couple of fondest memories: Lauri, 7 years old and small for her age, standing alone in her choir robe at the pulpit, singing all three verses of “Away in a Manger” on Christmas Eve. (People cried.) Wendy, age 3, with Santas ringing bells on every corner of Manhattan, walking merrily along singing “Turkey in the hay, hum-hum-hum.” (People laughed.) Guess that covers it. See you later! Love, Ruth


Margie Fendley - Oct 24, 2010

Dear Laurilyn,

We knew both your mother and father through College Hill Presbyterian Church. Tom was our lay pastor. His kindness to us included visits, prayers for a sick baby and an air conditioner unit for a child’s bedroom when that child would get sick from the heat. Tom and Ruth were at our house for dinner the night before he got sick. Tom and Ruth made sure that I heard that his illness didn’t have anything to do with my cooking! Ruth made Tom’s “flock” Christmas decorations as gifts each year, which I still own. We were blessed to have known them both. They were some of the kindest people we have ever known.

With love,
Craig and Margie Fendley