Skip to content

Jerry Harris


Elder Jerry F. Harris, age 76, formerly of Chattanooga, Tennessee passed away Wednesday, December 21, 2016 with family by his side after a short battle with cancer. Jerry was preceded in death by his father, Frank Harris and his mother, Pal “Frances” Harris (Chapman).  He was an only child. Jerry graduated Red Bank High School in 1958 and attended the University of Tennessee. He was a Vietnam Era veteran serving in the Air Force. While stationed near Garlstedt, Germany, as part of a Radio Relay Squadron, he met his wife and lifelong partner, Elke, who survives him. After being honorably discharged, Jerry and Elke married in 1965 and a year later had a son, Michael, who also survives him. Jerry worked throughout his life as a real estate broker, auctioneer, general contractor, and developer. Respected by his peers, he was elected to serve as president of the Hernando County Builders Association. It was often said of Jerry “that he had dirt in his veins” because he had such an acumen for real estate, especially land. Jerry enjoyed meeting people and experiencing new places so he cherished traveling. He was an avid fisherman who greatly enjoyed deep sea fishing and angling with his fly-rod. But, most of all, he loved family and visited them as often as possible. In the 70s and early 80s, because of his large circle of influence in Tennessee, Jerry was asked to help in several political campaigns. For his help to Lamar Alexander, governor, and Howard Baker, Senator and Senate Majority Leader, he was appointed “Colonel” aide to camp, Governor’s staff, by the governor. And for his one-on-one advice to Ronald Reagan and George Bush, he was personally invited and attended their inauguration in 1981. However, it was the work that he did for his church that he was most proud of. He was very active in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and was instrumental in the founding of several congregations and the construction of multiple churches. He was also a member of the Adventist Services and Industries and often attended their meetings. At the time of his death, he was a member and Elder of the Brooksville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brooksville, Florida. A Florida memorial service was held Tuesday, December 27 at the Brooksville Seventh-day Adventist Church. Honorary pallbearers were James DeMaria, Robert Kirk, Simon DeGuzman, Taly Velez, Ocke Bartels and Michael Harris. Pastor Loius Badenhorst officiated the service. Strickland Funeral Home in Crystal River, Florida was in charge of arrangements. Although he moved around often, including living in several countries, Jerry always considered the Sequatchie Valley home. It is in Dunlap, Tennessee where he was laid to rest at Than’s Chapel Cemetery. His memorial service in Tennessee was held on Monday, January 2 at the Dunlap Seventh-day Adventist Church. Pallbearers were Paul Taylor, Edward Harris, Ronnie Harris, Robert Harris, William Harris and Shawn Lowe. Pastor John Sabo officiated the service. Ewton Funeral Home of Dunlap was in charge of arrangements. In keeping with Jerry’s spirit of giving, the family is asking that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made in his honor to either the Food Pantry, c/o Spring Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church, P.O. Box 3009, Spring Hill, FL 34611 or to the Jerry Harris Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Development Office; College of the Ozarks, P.O. Box 17, Point Lookout, MO 65726, (417-690-2209).

Leave a Comment