John Rayford Harris, Jr., beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away on Sunday, June 20, 2021 in Nacogdoches, Texas after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. He was 74.
John was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on June 30, 1946 to the late John Rayford Harris and Carlene Throop Harris. He was raised in Fort Worth and Henderson, Texas. John enlisted in the United States Navy on his 19th birthday where he served five tours of duty in Vietnam as a Navy Seal. Following his service, he attended Texas Christian University and worked for General Dynamics and First National Bank in Fort Worth. He returned to Pine Bluff to work for the Cottonbelt Railroad where he met Jane Elizabeth Blankenship (Jan) while carrying a basket of laundry. They were married July 6, 1974. According to John, he never carried a basket of laundry again.
John was a train engineer for the Texas Utilities Mining Company and served in the Texas Army National Guard 49th Armored Division in Henderson, Texas, the National Guard Airborne in Houston, Texas, and the Nacogdoches Police Department in Nacogdoches, Texas. John enjoyed his final years working the acreage he and Jan bought in Douglass, building a beautiful farm with many improvements, including horses for his grandchildren.
John is survived by his wife Jan; children Bill Harris and wife Heather of Douglass, Texas and Mary Jane McClendon and husband Levi of Georgetown, Texas; grandchildren Tanner Alan Harris, Jayce Kameron Harris, Emerson Elizabeth Harris, Nash William Harris, Emma Elizabeth McClendon, and Helen Jane McClendon; brothers David Leonard Smith, Carl Allen Smith and wife Diana, Michael Andrew Harris; and sister Adrienne Harris.
A visitation for John is planned for Thursday, June 24, 2021 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. The visitation will be at the Laird Funeral Home on 2116 South St, Nacogdoches, Texas followed by a family funeral at a later date.
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