My heart was made saddened today by the homegoing a dear brother in the Lord, Dr. Jesse Harris, who was the founder and promotor of “The Faces of Our Children Sickle Cell Unity Choir” of Louisville, Kentucky.
I met Dr. Harris in 2009 through my member, Bro. Richard Smith, who had been the motivating force in bringing the Choir to First Baptist for years before my tenure. Each year, we were one of the leading contributors to the Faces of Our Children’s efforts and we were always glad to have Dr. Harris and the Choir come to Frankfort. He honored us as “Gold Supporters.”
Dr. Harris was a DJ for WLOU in Louisville, playing Gospel songs for many, many years. However, it was 2002 when he began working with the cause of sickle cell. He traveled to Danville, Virginia to meet with Don Cash of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Minority Coalition of Landover, MD. He was sent by his employer, Gary Best, Secretary/Treasurer of UFCW Local 227. Faces of our Children, Inc. was holding a fund-raiser for sickle cell families there in conjunction with Howard University. As a result, Mr. Cash encouraged him to get involved with sickle cell disease.
As a result, he came back to Louisville and held meetings with local labor groups and concerned citizens. As a result over 14 fundraisers were held at Central High School, a breakfast held in conjunction with the Commemorative Stamp unveiling and a live video recording with the legendary Williams Brothers, implementation of Sickle Cell Sunday, billboard advertising, the Stomp Out Sickle Cell Walk, and of course, the choir.
Rest well, Dr. Harris. We’ll see you in the morning . . .
Visitation: Friday, September 28, 2012 (5-9 p.m.)
Funeral: Saturday, September 29, 2012 (11 a.m.)
All services are held at St. Stephen Baptist Church – 1018 S. 15th Street, Louisville, KY – Dr. Kevin W. Cosby, Pastor
HARRIS, DR. JESSE, 70, of Louisville (native of New Castle, KY), passed away on Saturday, September 22, 2012 at his residence.
Jesse was a member and deacon of New Castle Main Street Baptist Church. He was an employee of Fischer’s Packing Company for 35 + years; employee and organizer of UFCW Local 227; Kentucky State labor chair for NAACP; Kentucky Colonel; 2012 Candidate for Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame; founder and president of Faces of Our Children Sickle Cell Foundation; founder of the nation’s first and only Sickle Cell Choir; founder of Joyful Praise Ministries, broadcasted on WLOU 1350 radio station; member of the National CBTU Religious Outreach Commission; member of the Kentucky Alliance against racism and political repression; hired by the Henry County judge exec 1st County Youth Service Bureau; founder of the contributing writer of a children’s book, “Petera Comes to America”.
He was the son of the late Irvin and Mattie Lee (Scott) Harris. He was preceded in death by two sisters, Evelyn Tolbert and Ida Lee Johnson.
Survived by two sons, Greg Harris (Robin) of Crestwood, KY and Tim Harris (Melissa) of Lexington, KY; six sisters, Mary V. Beasley (Rev. Clayton), of Paducah, KY, Nancy Loving of Paducah, Hallie Wilson of Atlanta , GA, Carrie Reed (Rev. Jerrome), of Georgetown , Patsy Lindsay (Gary) of Louisville and Betty Burns (Steve), of Atlanta; brother, Rodney Harris of Paducah; ex-wife, Anna Harris of Eminence, KY; six grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral service: 11a.m. Saturday at St. Stephen Church, 1018 S. 15th St., Louisville, officiated by Rev. Meredith L. Trabue, pastor of New Castle Main Street Baptist Church. Pallbearers: Billy Harris, James Goodloe, Frank Goodloe , Michael Henderson, Richard Smith and William Goodloe. Burial: New Castle G.U.O.O.F. Cemetery. Visitation: 5-9 p.m. Friday at St. Stephen Church. Prewitt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be made to Faces of Our Children, 1920 L Street, NW, Suite 301, Washington, D.C. 20032. – www.facesofourchildren.org