Frederick Eugene Harris, “Brother Fred”, “Uncle Fred”, “Preacher”, “Papaw”, “Dad” and “Daddy” met Jesus face to face at 3:15 pm, February 11, whose love and forgiveness he devoted his life to preaching for 64 years. He was born August 17, 1923 to Ed and Louise Harris in Fordyce, AR. Growing up in Fordyce, at age 12 he joined and grew to love the Boy Scouts. At age 15 he vowed to become the very first Eagle Scout in his Troop’s 40 year history and achieved this goal the next year, probably the proudest achievement of his youth! He joined the navy at age 18 and having already learned semaphore in the Scouts, became a signalman on the USS Kitty Hawk, akv1, a WW II aircraft & troop transport ship. During his years at sea he developed a deep love for the stars and loved to name and point out all the constellations. During these years he also developed a love for writing poetry. He earned spending money writing love poems to other sailor’s girlfriends for them. After the Navy he moved to Tyler, where he made a profession of faith in Christ. Soon after beginning to teach Sunday school he won his first soul to Christ, felt called to preach in 1947 and began preaching anywhere he could. While attending Bible Baptist Seminary he was ordained May 30, 1948. He pastored Temple Baptist, later becoming Second Baptist Church, in Arlington, TX, starting with 13 in attendance and growing to over 1,500. He moved back to Tyler in 1972, where he faithfully served the Lord as pastor of Bailes Baptist Church for over 35 years. His life was defined by his voracious appetite and LOVE for the study of God’s Word, and his Gift for one-on-one personal Soul Winning and was blessed to lead thousands to a decision to accept Christ. For over 30 years he faithfully preached in local nursing homes weekly, and was known as “The Preacher”, tirelessly visiting and witnessing to the sick and their loved ones in Tyler hospitals. In the 70’s and 80’s he had a daily radio broadcast on KTBB radio in Tyler, “Grace for Today”. In addition, he loved and was loved by his family, friends, and everyone he came in contact with. He lived life with a positive happy joy, always laughing and upbeat. He was a friend to everyone, but especially the friendless, the downtrodden, those ignored as insignificant. He was generous to a fault, would give anything he had to anyone in need. Many a person pointed to Brother Fred as a pivotal, life changing figure in their lives. He was an amazing father, always there to love and help. Words can’t describe the degree to which Papaw is beloved by all his grandchildren. Nothing gave him more pleasure than his grandkids. He loved golf and fishing, but also loved working his garden. After 65, he worked at Albertsons and Brookshires on west loop 64 for 15 years and was beloved by his customers. He was faithful to and beloved by the Tyler Men’s Prayer Breakfast at Sweet Sue’s Restaurant.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Frankie Harris, his daughter, Anne Harris, stepsons Mark and Luke, and five brothers, Edward, George, Thomas, Paul and Harry, his twin. He is survived by his precious and loving wife, Cheryl Harris, two children, Peggy Trakes and her spouse Sheridan of Pagosa Springs, Co, Chip Harris and his spouse, Nancy of Tyler, stepchildren John and spouse Fusae, Lorrie and spouse Terry, Luke’s surviving spouse Lisa, Cheryl and spouse Jacob, Nyla and spouse Darren, grandchildren Michelle Martin and spouse Gerry, Jordan Harris, Andrew Harris and Kathryn Harris, 25 stepgrandchildren, and great grandson, Jensen Jewell.
Pall bearers are Jordan Harris, Andrew Harris, Jacob Hope, Bob Renson, Danny Butcher and Darren Capeheart. Honorary pall bearers include Davis Brewster, Dennis Callihan and Jody Henson. Our family wishes to express special gratitude to Jacob & Cheryl Hope, and Tad Roland for their love and care for Fred in recent years. Fred would also want to acknowledge Andrew Womack, who he considered a spiritual mentor.
Visitation will Monday, February 15, 6 to 8 pm, at Tyler Memorial Funeral Home & Cemetery, 12053 State Hwy 64 West, Tyler, Tx. The funeral service will be held at the same location – Tuesday, February 16, 2:00 pm, officiated by his nephew, Dr. George Harris and close friend, Dr. Larry Norrell, with graveside service to follow. At his own special request, Fred’s casket will be driven to his final rest in his “Fred’s Truck”.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Fred’s name to Heart to Heart Hospice, who cared for him the last year of his life.