Mount Vernon News
  • Robert E. ‘Red’ Harris

  • June 9, 2010

BUTLER — A community leader, Red Harris passed away Tuesday morning, June 8, 2010, in his Butler home. He was 86.

Born Robert E. Harris on March 22, 1924 in Knox County to Clarence and Sadie (Cunningham) Harris, he was a lifelong resident of the Clear Fork Valley.

Red Harris always had a smile on his on face. He liked people, enjoyed their company, and was quick to lend them a helping hand. Swift with a joke or anecdote, Red used humor to draw people in and engage them.

During World War II, Red served with the U.S. Navy in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters. He spent a considerable amount of time aboard the SS Esso Bayway, a convoy tanker routed to all the fronts, and he was later transferred to the USS LSM (R) (408) a 401 Class Landing Ship Medium (Rocket), an amphibious attack vessel.

Red was a hard worker who served the Ohio Brass Co. a total of 42 years. He retired in 1986 as superintendent and foreman of the foundry area.

Recognized as a community leader, Red was elected and served on Butler Village Council from 1947 to 1950, when he was elected mayor, and served two terms until 1958.

He served on the Butler Schools Board of Education in the 1960s and was appointed to continue in that capacity following the consolidation into Clear Fork in 1962. Active in both Butler and Clear Fork Athletic Boosters, Red served as president of both.

Red attended Mount Sinai United Methodist Church, and more recently Three Crosses-A United Methodist Fellowship, and was a life member of and was past master (1955) of Bellville Lodge 376, F&AM. He was a member of Scottish Rite Valley of Canton, VFW Post 9825 and American Legion Post 535.

Red liked being outdoors, particularly gardening, and hunting deer, turkey and mushrooms.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth E. (Collier) Harris, whom he married Oct. 11, 1945; a daughter and son-in-law, Susan Harris-Heald and David Heald of Oak Ridge, Tenn.; granddaughter, Kristin Harris-Heald of Birmingham, Ala.; stepgrandchildren, Brian and his wife Joy Heald of Orlando, Fla., and Ashlie Heald of Lexington, Ky.; stepgreat-grandchildren, Maddie Heald and Katelyn Heald; sisters, Coreta Deringer of Mount Vernon and Elaine (Maurice “Bud”) Glibert of Williamstown, W.Va.; sister-in-law, Betty Stimmel of Fredericktown; brother-in-law, Myron (Pat) Collier of McMurray, Pa.; nieces and nephews; and a large circle of friends.

His son, Richard Lee “Rick” Harris, preceded him in death on Dec. 24, 1998. Also deceased are sisters, Avarilla Gossett and Marie Lyons.

The Harris family will receive friends Friday, June 11, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. in the Bellville Snyder Funeral Home, where his funeral service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. The Revs. Ken Kinley and Don Sprague will officiate. Burial will follow in Zion Cemetery, where American Legion Post 535 will hold military graveside rites.

In Red’s memory, contributions are suggested to either Hospice of North Central Ohio, or the Butler Nutrition Program, and may be made at the funeral home.

Snyder Funeral Home is honored to be trusted to serve the Harris family, and private condolence to them may be made online at



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