William Owen Harris ’51

Rev. William Owen Harris, 85, passed away Saturday, March 21, 2015 in Petersburg, Ind. Bill was born October 9, 1929 on Mullen Hill in Petersburg to Owen D. Harris and Clara Heldt Harris.

He served as a Presbyterian minister graduating from Davidson College (1951) and Princeton Theological Seminary with a Masters in Theology and Divinity. Bill first served as a chaplain in the Navy during the Korean War, 1954 to 1957. He served a squadron of eight destroyers in the Pacific Fleet. His next assignment was at Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington, Md. Bill later was the Presbyterian minister in St. Petersburg, Fla.; Philadelphia, Penn., and Washington, D.C.

From 1983 to 1988 William was the History and Genealogy Division Director at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis, Ind., after receiving a Masters in Library Science at Indiana University. Bill traveled extensively, visiting Cuba, Germany, Japan, Formosa, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines, Scotland, England, Italy, and the Holy Land. During the summer of 1961 he spent 10 weeks with the Iona Community, Isle of Iona, Scotland.

For the last 15 years of his ministry he served as the head archivist of the rare books library at the Princeton Seminary. He often preached in the Princeton, N.J. area. After retirement, Bill came home to his family in Petersburg, Ind.

William was preceded in death by his parents, Owen “Stiffy” and Clara Harris; and a brother, Richard “Dick” Harris. He is survived by a brother, Robert “Bob” Harris and his wife, Sondra, of Petersburg, Ind. Bill also leaves behind three nieces, Lisa Harris, Clara (David) Henson and Gretchen (Bobby Walters) Harris, all of Petersburg, Ind. Also surviving are two great nephews, Nick Henson and Gabriel Walters; a great-niece, Ali Henson; and a great-great-niece, Evie Sweet.

Funeral services will be Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 1 p.m. EST at Harris Funeral Home in Petersburg, Ind. Burial will immediately follow at Walnut Hills Cemetery with military honors by V.F.W. Post #3587. Visitation will be Wednesday, March 25, 2015 from 4 to 7 p.m. with a Masonic Service at 6 p.m. by Pike Masonic Lodge #121.

William was very proud of serving the church and grateful for his many friends.

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