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Helen Louise Harris passed on April 15, 2019 after a lengthy illness. She was born January 27, 1929 at home in Grant, Oklahoma to Ruth A. McIntosh Hayes and John Benton Hayes. She was preceded in death by her siblings: Mary Victoria Hayes McIntosh, Ruth Almeda Hayes, John Woodrow Hayes, and Wenonah Ann Hayes Owens.
Dr. Harris was a long-time educator who earned her doctorate at Florida State University and taught at Baylor University, Paul Quinn College, and Florida State University. A proud member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Dr. Harris was a sponsor of the Baylor Native American Student Organization and was honored by that organization in 1995. For her work on Native American Graves and Repatriation legislation and educational outreach efforts she was recognized by the American Indian Resource and Education Coalition in 1995, and she received a lifetime achievement award from the Texas Native American Law Section in 2006. She spoke on Native American issues on both the state and national level.
She was well-known among family and friends for her incredible artistic skill of sewing original design clothing, her delight in cooking, her enjoyment of music, her love of the outdoors and nature, and her devotion to her dog companions. She shared her talents of singing and writing, especially short stories. She was a lifelong Methodist.
She is survived by her husband, Edward, her best friend and husband of nearly 70 years; her children Rhonda (Ron) Taylor, Victoria Gayle Harris, Ruth (Lewis) Soucy, and Edward J. (Debi) Harris; her brother James (Karen) Baker; grandchildren Paul (Bethany), Lee (Doro), and Joanna Soucy, Victoria Bamberger, Karuna, Roan, Toshi, and Mimi Harris; niece Susan McIntosh McBride, nephews Jonathan (Sharon) and Justin (Jennifer), great nephews (Lawson and Bennett Baker), and four great-grandchildren (Spencer, Carter, Rebecca, and Alexander Soucy). Dr. Harris had a remarkable and inspiring life and was an example of courage to her family, students, and friends. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the American Indian College Fund (http://www.collegefund.org) or to a charity of choice. A celebration of life service is pending.
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