William Davis Harris, LtCol, USA, retired, passed away on March 23, 2013, at the age of 93. Col. Harris was a patient at Greensboro's Beacon Place, a residential Hospice facility.
Col. Harris was in the United States Army for 20 years, serving in World War II (stationed at Hickam Field/Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941) and the Korean War. He was wounded in action during the attack on Pearl Harbor and received a field promotion to Acting Sergeant. During his career, he also earned two Bronze Stars for heroism. Bill was assigned to the 77th Special Forces Group and was one of the first of the elite cadre known as the "Green Berets." He retired from the 82nd Airborne in 1959 as Lieutenant Colonel.
He entered the civilian sector for several years including a position teaching biological and chemical warfare at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Col. Harris and family moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1962 where he became Assistant Director for the Guilford County Civil Defense Agency.
Col. Harris attended Howard College and Alverson Business College in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1966 Col. Harris returned to school at the University of Alabama and then on to John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia.
After admission to the Georgia Bar, he served as an Assistant District Attorney of the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit in North Georgia. In 1978 he was appointed to the Bench as Judge of Juvenile Court in the five-county Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit. Judge Harris retired from the Bench in 1981. After a few years in Florida, he and Zue returned to Greensboro in the early 1990's.
Until his death, Col. Harris was a member of the State Bar of Georgia (emeritus), Sigma Delta Kappa Law Fraternity; Guilford Lodge 656 AF and AM, Scottish Rite Bodies (32nd Degree); Pearl Harbor Survivors Association; and Cornerstone Baptist Church.
In 2012 the Alabama State Senate honored Bill Harris with a Resolution in recognition of his lifetime of achievement.
Bill was born on July 4, 1919, in West Blocton (Bibb County), Alabama, to Stanley A. and Ruth M. Harris. He grew up in West Blocton and later married childhood friend, Zue Stewart. Four children were born to Bill and Zue during their 65 years of marriage.
Bill is predeceased by his wife, Zue, grandson, Craig Stewart Johnson, and sister Frances Harris Kellogg. He is survived by children Barbara Johnson of Greensboro, North Carolina; Billy Harris Jr. of Astoria, Oregon; Susan Mouw, and husband Barry, of Aiken, South Carolina; and Beth Harris of Asheville, North Carolina; grandchildren Lara Johnson Bibey, and husband Brian, of Reidsville, North Carolina; Scott Johnson, and wife Amy, of Greensboro, North Carolina; Pearl Harris-Scott, and husband Steve, of Fredericksburg, Virginia; and Ben Harris of Great Falls, Montana; great-grandchildren Brandon Bibey, Avery Johnson, Lillian Harris, and Addison Johnson.
Daddy enjoyed traveling and rarely missed an opportunity to share stories of his amazing military career. Even though in poor health, he still managed to travel during the past several years. In November 2012 he was guest speaker at his home town high school Veterans Day activities. He will be remembered for his courage, his commitment to justice, his honor, his enduring sense of humor and his never-ending positive attitude. He will be deeply missed by his family and all who knew him.
Donations may be made in memory of William D. Harris to Hospice of Greensboro or to the North Carolina Library for the Blind.
Family visitation will be at the Hanes-Lineberry North Elm Street, on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 from 6:00 until 8:00 pm. Graveside services, with full military honors, will be at Westminster Gardens in Greensboro on Wednesday March 27, at 2:00 pm.
Online condolences may be made to haneslineberryfuneralhomes.com.