William Clay Harris, Jr. passed away the morning of Monday, June 2, 2014 at the age of 67. He went peacefully in his home in Gotha, Florida. He was born in Hobart, Oklahoma on June 24, 1946, the son of the late William Clay Harris, Sr. and Alice Annabel Harris. He is the oldest of their four children and is survived by his three siblings, James Leonard Harris, Joseph Robert Harris and Rebecca Ann Kellogg. He had many fond memories of his early childhood that included the adventures of his beloved family dog, Casey. He developed a love of music in high school and learned to play the trumpet which he continued to play in college. He...
William Clay Harris, Jr. passed away the morning of Monday, June 2, 2014 at the age of 67. He went peacefully in his home in Gotha, Florida.
He was born in Hobart, Oklahoma on June 24, 1946, the son of the late William Clay Harris, Sr. and Alice Annabel Harris. He is the oldest of their four children and is survived by his three siblings, James Leonard Harris, Joseph Robert Harris and Rebecca Ann Kellogg. He had many fond memories of his early childhood that included the adventures of his beloved family dog, Casey. He developed a love of music in high school and learned to play the trumpet which he continued to play in college. He graduated from Hobart High in 1964 and began his studies at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. After two years, he enlisted in the United States Army where he was stationed in South Korea as part of the Army Security Agency. He served honorably in the U.S. Army for four years, but his love of Korean culture compelled him to remain in Korea as an English teacher. He embarked on a solo backpacking trip across the country during this time where he mastered the Korean language, befriending many along the way. He was later recruited by the Country's Ministry of Communications to teach English to a group of Korean telephone operators in Seoul. It is here that he met, and fell in love with, his future wife of 41 years, Sang Nan Harris, who survives him. William or "Bill" would often fondly recount the story of travelling to the city of Kimhe to meet Sang's father, the late Cho Bong Young. He was humbled by his future father in law's hospitality and genuine kindness during their introduction.
Bill and Sang returned to Oklahoma where they were married at the First Baptist Church of Hobart on May 18, 1973. Bill continued his studies at Southwestern Oklahoma State University as part of the United States G.I. Bill. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master's in Education, while Sang earned a degree from the same institution in Accounting. It is during this time the newlyweds started growing their family which includes one daughter and two sons who survive him: Julie Suzanne Wade, Matthew Clay Harris, and Kelly Cho Harris.
Bill Harris began a long and successful career as a high school teacher, focusing on the subjects of Economics, History and English as a Second Language. Bill had a passion for education and a heart for poor and at risk students, which brought him to teach exclusively in underserved schools during his career. The family moved from Oklahoma to Houston, Texas in 1983 where he taught at Stephen F. Austin High School, positively impacting the lives of countless students. His three children remember Bill as, above all, a devoted father. He never missed a little league game, swim meet, band concert, Boy Scout camping trip or dance recital and provided unending encouragement and support for his children's endeavors. As a father, he also stressed the importance of education and was proud to see his children succeed to become two attorneys and a medical doctor. He always put his family first.
Bill and his family moved from Houston to Orlando, Florida in 1995 in order to pursue a job opportunity for his wife, Sang, as she started her own accounting business. He taught at Evans High School but later retired in 1998 in order to assist his wife in her growing business. He affectionately described his job title as a "gopher" for Sang, referring to the wide variety and high volume of tasks that the business demanded. It is during this time that Bill and Sang saw their three children start careers, get married and grow families of their own. He seamlessly transitioned from the role of father to grandfather and was blessed by the time he was able to spend with his six grandchildren who survive him. They include Harrison Campbell Wade, McKinley Annabel Wade, Emerson Olivia Wade, Thatcher Holden Wade, William Colton Harris and Anderson Leigh Harris. He was very proud of his precious grandchildren and loved them all very much.
William Clay Harris leaves behind a legacy of kindness, devotion, and faith. He was a loving and devoted husband and father, a kind and thoughtful friend and, above all, a man of deep faith. He attended The Metropolitan Baptist Church in Houston and in Orlando, Faith Family Community Church of the Nazarene and the First Baptist Church of Central Florida. During the final years of his life, Bill became increasingly proud of his service to his country and also further strengthened his belief in Jesus Christ and His transforming grace.
A "Celebration of Life" will be held on Friday, June 6, 2014, from 5 - 8 pm, at Woodlawn Funeral Home (400 Woodlawn Cemetery Road, Gotha, Fl. 34734; 407-293-1361). Funeral Services will be on Saturday, June 7, 2014, at 11 AM, at First Baptist Church of Central Florida (700 Good Homes Road, Orlando, FL 32818; 407-293-4571). After the service, a graveside service will be at Woodlawn Memorial Park, with Military Honors.
Arrangements under the direction of Woodlawn Memorial Park & Funeral Home, Gotha, FL.