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Joe Tom Harris, 90, died Wednesday, January 15, at his home in Nacogdoches, Texas.
Harris was born in Dilley on November 2, 1929, the son of Julia Hester and Talmadge Boon Harris of Cotulla.
He is preceded in death by his parents; sister Rita Harris Arche; and son Joe Tom Harris Jr.
He is survived by his wife, Emily; daughter Nina Lynn Harris-Clark-Perry; grandchildren Joe Foote Clark IV and wife Casssie Bradock and their daughter Julia; Arthur Boone Clark and wife Annelise Williams and their son Spencer; and Autumn Emily Harris and husband Zach Taylor.
Harris graduated from Cotulla High School in 1947, lettering in football and basketball. He enlisted in the US Air Force in 1948 and served a year on active duty. He then attended the University of Texas at Austin and was honored as an outstanding student, president of the Silver Spurs, cadet lieutenant colonel in the Air Force ROTC, as a distinguished military student, and vice president of Oak Grove. He graduated with a master’s degree in education.
Harris and his wife, Emily Summers, met at UT and were married in 1952. After teaching in Austin for six years, he taught mathematics and coached sports at Nacogdoches High School from 1958, beginning as seventh grade football coach and assisting the basketball program under Coach Gene Hale. In 1961, the NHS Dragons played in the state championship in Austin and lost by one point. In 1962, Harris became head junior high football coach and NHS basketball coach. In 1966, he was asked to coach the Dragon backfield and linebackers. The team was successful under Coach Phil Prince, winning district in 1965 and the co-championship in 1969.
Harris took over the family’s land and cattle responsibilities after his father’s death in 1969, and tended to the family ranch in South Texas. in 1996, he returned to teach algebra at Thomas J. Rusk and McMichael middle schools until his health forced him to retire in 2008.
Harris was a member of the First Christian Church of Nacogdoches and served as a board member, deacon, Sunday School teacher, nursery worker and leader of the Children’s Church.
Sympathies may be mailed to Emily Harris, 3421 Broadmoor Blvd., Nacogdoches, Texas 75965; memorial gifts may be made to Dilley Cemetery, Box 9, Dilley, Texas 78017; First United Methodist Church, 302 Center Street, Cotulla, Texas 78014; or First Christian Church, 702 N. Mound, Nacogdoches, Texas 75965.
Services were made under arrangement by Cason Monk Metcalf Funeral Home of Nacogdoches.