Mary  Harris


Mary Penn Harris, aged 96, passed away at a nursing facility in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 24, 2019. Born Mary Margaret Penn, in New Orleans, on April 20, 1923, Mary was the daughter of Noel Penn and Margaret Sharp Penn. She and her sister, the late Nell Penn Twohy, grew up in Ballinger, Texas, and the family later moved to Corpus Christi.
Mary graduated from Texas State College for Women and taught sixth grade until 1953 when she married Raymond Cleveland Harris, who worked for Philips Petroleum Company. They were married in Bismarck, North Dakota, and over the course of their long life together also lived in Montana, Louisiana, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado, before retiring to Loma Linda in 1985. She moved to Atlanta in 2018.
Mary loved reading and gardening, and time with friends, but her chief devotion was to her family as a loving wife and wonderful mother. She was also involved in women's clubs and charity work. A lifelong and faithful Episcopalian, Mary was an active member of St. Philip's Episcopal Church, in Joplin.
Her very eventful life included surviving the EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin in 2011. The tornado leveled her house to the foundation, sending her flying into the backyard. She suffered a broken neck and other injuries, but recovered to live for eight more years.
Preceding Mary in death are Raymond, her husband of 59 years, and daughter, Mary Lenore, who died in infancy, as well as the family's treasured English Setter, Molly Brown.
She is survived by sons, Bruce and David; daughter-in-law, Renee; grandson, Fernando; granddaughter, Stacy; great-grandchildren, Winter and Rio; and nephews, Terry and Tom Twohy. She also leaves behind her loving St. Philip's family, remembering especially Ramona Shields, Debi Sierra, Gayle O'Hare, Gayle Tuck, and Vicki Cleveland.
A service to remember Mary's life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name and memory to St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 706 Byers Avenue, Joplin, Missouri, 64801-4304.
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Published on June 30, 2019
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