Robert Raymond Harris, 71, of Sullivan, died Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, at Mason Point, Sullivan. A funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 28 at the St. Columcille Catholic Church, Sullivan. The Rev. John Sohm will officiate. A rite of committal and burial will be in Greenhill Cemetery, Sullivan. A visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 at Reed Funeral Home, Sullivan with a prayer service at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made directly to the Harris family, which will be given to the caregivers at Mason Point who provided loving and compassionate care throughout the final two years of his life. Alternately, donations can be made directly to the Bill Harris Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Bob was born on April 8, 1941, in Geneseo, the son of Esther Harris-DeSplinter and Oliver Harris. His smile was known to light up every room, and he had an incredible gift for making everyone he met feel welcome. He married Glenda Lee Crist on June 7, 1969, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was a devoted husband to Glenda Harris for 43 years and a loving father to Bill and Cristina Harris. As a couple, he and Glenda traveled all over the world after retiring and visited all 50 states together. Bob was a devoutly religious Catholic who attended St. Columcille in Sullivan, where he was a lector for 41 years and a 50-year member of the Knights of Columbus.
Bob graduated from the University of Illinois in 1964 and received his master's degree in 1966. He and Glenda moved to Sullivan in 1971 and spent 41 years as members of the community. He was an incredibly generous and compassionate man who devoted his life to helping farmers as a University of Illinois Cooperative Extension adviser in Moultrie and Douglas counties, working for economic justice with C.E.F.S., and coordinating 4-H programs for youth for 35 years. His generous spirit and natural leadership were apparent in his positions as a member of Kiwanis, the Moultrie County Board, and his participation in Meals on Wheels. Though he had many professional accomplishments, he was best known for his character, integrity and warm spirit. He also loved to enjoy coffee in the morning with his friends and local farmers, and was known to often say, "Keep the faith!" as his parting line.
Survivors include his wife, Glenda of Sullivan; mother, Esther DeSplinter of Geneseo; daughter, Cristina Harris of Brooklyn, N.Y.; sisters, Sheryl Plumley of Geneseo and Laurie (Chip) Benjamin of New York City, N.Y.; nephews, Garett, Owen and Marshall Plumley and David Benjamin; and countless friends and community members who will miss him dearly. He was preceded in death by his son, Bill Harris, in 1999 and his father, Oliver Harris, in 1955.
The family would like to thank all who came to the Celebration of Life for Bob on Saturday, Sept. 22 and all of the amazing caregivers at Mason Point.