Eric W. Harris

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Eric Wyckoff Harris, Sr.
Born (1916-01-08)January 8, 1916
Rapides Parish, Louisiana, USA
Died October 24, 2007(2007-10-24) (aged 91)
Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana
Occupation Businessman; Founded first Jaycees chapter in Louisiana
Religion Methodist
Spouse(s) Nelwyn Rhodes Harris (married 1941 – his death)

Eric W. Harris, Jr.
Sandra Harris Kearney

Conni Harris Smith

Eric Wyckoff Harris, Sr. (January 8, 1916 – October 24, 2007)[1] was an Alexandria businessman and civic leader who in 1939 headed the committee which organized the first Louisiana chapter of the Jaycees, or United States Junior Chamber. A builder and real estate developer, he was co-owner of Hill Harris & Company from 1936 until 2005, when he and his brother, James C. Harris (1913–2009) closed the business, which was founded by their father.[2]

Harris was born to Homer H. Harris, Sr. (1890–1971),[1] and the former Arletta Cato (1888–1987)[1] at Hard Times Plantation south of Alexandria. The family moved to Alexandria in 1921. He graduated from Bolton High School in Alexandria, attended Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville for two years, and graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He was a member of Sigma Chi social fraternity. During World War II, Harris volunteered in the United States Army Air Corps. He piloted B-29 bombers.[2]

Harris was a member of the Alexandria-Pineville Chamber of Commerce and chaired its aviation committee. He also served for a decade on the Rapides Parish Aviation Authority, including two years a president. Harris was a director of the Central Cities Development Corporation and a former president of the Rapides Parish Industrial Development Board. He was past president of the Alexandria Lions Club and scored perfect attendance for sixty-three years. He was active in the Committee for a Better Alexandria and worked on the development of navigation projects on the Red River.[2]

Harris was survived by his wife of sixty-six years, the former Nelwyn Rhodes of Alexandria; two daughters, Sandra Harris Kearney, and her husband, James Michael Kearney of Alexandria, and Conni Harris Smith of Lafayette, the widow of Hadley M. Smith (1940–1996);[1] one son, Eric W. Harris, Jr. (born ca. 1942) of Moncks Corner, South Carolina; brother James C. Harris of Alexandria, and five grandchildren.[2] He was preceded in death by another brother, Homer Harris, Jr. (1910–1999).[1]

Services were held on October 26, 2007, at First United Methodist Church in Alexandria, where he served on the building committee. Interment was in Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville.[2]

Harris' brother, James Harris, was also an LSU graduate and a United States Navy veteran of the North Africa and Pacific theaters of World War II, with service in the Philippines. James Harris, who retired from Hill-Harris at the age of ninety-two, was also active in the Alexandria community, having been former presidents of both the Kiwanis Club and Kent Plantation House, Inc., a restored 19th century structure near Bayou Rapides.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Social Security Death Index Interactive Search
  2. ^ a b c d e Eric W. Harris obituary, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, October 25, 2007
  3. ^ Obituary of James C. Harris, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, February 27, 2009