Bill was born May 30, 1925, the son of the late Forrest Sigman Harris and Rosa Francis Stoddard Harris, who died of complications with his birth. He grew up on a small Illinois farm and was a child of the Great Depression. He graduated from Avon High School and, like many proud Americans of his generation, immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps to do his part in World War II. Bill was trained as an aircraft electrician and was on an aircraft carrier bound for Japan when the war ended. After spending a year in China, he was shipped home and given an honorable discharge. He was an entrepreneur and soon bought a gas station, followed by a partnership in an appliance and electrical contracting business, then another appliance store before founding Harris Pillow Supply in Chicago in 1958. He was married to Mary Amanda Morford and operated his first businesses in Monmouth, IL. He later married Grace Dugan, who predeceased him. He married Jackie Durham and moved his business from Chicago to Beaufort, SC in 1980. Bill loved golfing in the lowcountry. He and Jackie enjoyed the golf and especially the fellowship of others at their home on Dataw Island in the “early days” of the island. He was also one to give back to the community through his involvement in the Kiwanis Club, holding the notoriety of “Head Nut” by always selling the most nuts during their fund raiser. He was proud to be a Mason, a Kiwanian and veteran. While in Beaufort he was a member of Carteret Street United Methodist Church and upon moving to Charleston joined St. Mark United Methodist Church. Bill was predeceased by his wife Jackie, 2 brothers and 2 sisters. He leaves behind daughter Mary Jo (Karl) Reynolds of Alexis, Illinois, daughter Jacki (Jim) Ratledge of Charleston, and son John (Kay) of Seabrook, 9 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends on Monday, May 4th from 6:00 until 7:00 p.m. at St. Mark United Methodist – 413 Gettys Avenue, Charleston. A prayer service will follow visitation at 7:00 p.m. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on May 5th at Carteret St. United Methodist Church in Beaufort, followed by interment at the Beaufort National Cemetery with full military honors.
Carteret Street United Methodist Church West Street Fund – 408 Carteret St., Beaufort, South Carolina 29902