Thomas Murray Harris Sr., 95, of Lincoln, passed away peacefully Tuesday (Sept. 18, 2018) at his home.
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Britta Borgeson Harris, whom he married on April 15, 1950. He is also survived by his children, Jean (Doug) Brown, LaGrange; Dr. John (Tamara) Harris, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; Julie Larson, Lincoln; Thomas (Regina) Harris Jr., Lincoln; and 12 grandchildren, Renee Brown, Andrew Brown, Janet Brown, Phillip Brown, Savannah Harris, John Harris Jr., Genevieve (Nathan) Neal, Britta (Kyle) Venstrom, Christina Larson, Thomas Harris III, Katherine Harris and Dean Harris.
He was preceded in death by his eldest daughter, Janet Harris, in 1974, and his brother, Homer B. “Bud” Harris Jr., in 2017.
Tom was born May 14, 1923, in Lincoln, the son of Homer Blinn and Renee Murray Harris. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1941. After completing two years at Northwestern University, he enlisted in the United States Naval Air Corps in 1943, and was in uniform for two and a half years during World War II as a carrier-based fighter pilot. He was honorably discharged from active service in November 1945, having attained the rank of ensign, and he remained in the Naval Reserve until 1957.
Following the war, Tom returned to Northwestern University where he studied law and received his degree in 1948. After passing the bar examination, he joined his father in the family law firm, Harris & Harris, in Lincoln in 1949. His younger brother, Bud, joined the law firm in 1950. Tom practiced law for 62 years, primarily as a probate lawyer, and retired in 2012 at age 89.
Tom was a former Republican state central committeeman and chairman of the Logan County Regional Planning Commission. He served on many civic and community boards in Lincoln and Logan County. Tom was a member of the Lincoln United Methodist Church, Illinois State Bar Association and Logan County Bar Association. He was honored to participate in a Land of Lincoln Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in 2013.
Tom loved traveling with his family. He especially enjoyed his time spent fishing, whether or not he caught anything. A varsity tennis player in college, Tom continued to play in local leagues and introduced his children to the sport. He maintained an interest in flying for many years after his military service, flying locally and attending airshows. Tom was also a jazz music enthusiast. He and Britta regularly traveled with friends to jazz concerts and festivals.
Tom lived his life as a gentleman. He was both respectful and respected. He greeted others with an easy smile and firm handshake. He was loved by his family and friends and will be greatly missed and fondly remembered.
His funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the First United Methodist Church of Lincoln with the Rev. Michael Paulson officiating. Visitation will be prior to the service from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the church. Burial will be in New Union Cemetery, Lincoln. Peasley Funeral Home, Lincoln, is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.
Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Lincoln or American Legion Post 263.