Roy F. Harris Sr.: 1911-2005

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Roy F. Harris Sr. died Jan. 1, 2005, in Meeker. He was 93.

Roy F. Harris, Sr., was born Feb. 25, 1911, in Stillwater, Okla., to Samuel M. and Janette (Greenwood) Harris.

Knowledge of his childhood was very sketchy and security was something he knew little of. When he was 7, a flu epidemic hit the Pueblo area, killing both of his parents. Fearing the orphanage, he packed his meager belongings in a pillowcase and walked 15 miles to a dairy run by Tom Gordon and his wife. Tom gave him room and board in exchange for helping with the chores. During his time with the Gordons, Roy was able to complete his education through the eighth grade in four years, completing the fourth, fifth and sixth grades in one year.

At the age of 12, he was once again on his own, working for ranchers and doing odd jobs. During his travels he became acquainted with Red Cloud who was traveling the country raising money for his people. Roy's mother, being Indian, gave him something in common with Chief Red Cloud. You still can see the tattoo on his right hand given to him by Red Cloud.

At the age of 23, as a young man he stepped off a freight train in Rifle flipped a coin to help him decide on his destination. The year was 1934, and times were extremely hard; the Great Depression had a strong hold on the economy and there were many people traveling the country looking for jobs, hoping for a little security. His feet were the only mode of transportation for this trip. He walked as far as the present site of Colowyo Coal Company before he was able to get a ride the rest of the way to Craig. The next few years saw him in and out of the area, working summers for Rodge Saunders and winters in Grand Junction and other places. Craig, however, always called him back.

On a trip to Missouri in 1936, Roy met and fell in love with Hazel Bell Highley. Hazel was a high school student determined to graduate. Roy made many trips between Colorado and Missouri before marrying her on May 4, 1937, and bringing her home to Craig. The couple's only child, Roy Franklin, Jr., was born Oct. 25, 1939, in Craig.

The war years found the family living in Liberty, Mo. Roy was in charge of essential transportation in Kansas City, a job he held until the end of the war. In 1946, Northwest Colorado called again. This time, the move was permanent.

In 1949, Roy was able to open his own auto repair business on the east side of Craig, called Roy Harris Auto Service. His motto was "12 satisfied customers out of a dozen." In 1952, he and Hazel built a house and shop two miles south of town. The business remained Roy Harris Auto Service until 1962, when he was able to expand, handling Case and Massey-Ferguson equipment and it became known as Roy Harris Auto and Implement.

Retirement came in April 1974.

That year, Roy and Hazel designed and started to build a log home on Thompson Hill. Other retirement activities included buying and rebuilding a motor home that had been destroyed in an accident. They did travel some in the motor home, going to Missouri to visit Hazel's family a few times. The family enjoyed Roy and Hazel's company very much and they always had a great time visiting in Missouri.

Hazel passed away May 8, 1989, after a long illness. Roy continued to live in the home he and Hazel built until his health failed him in March 2004, and he had to move to Walbridge Wing in Meeker.

Roy is survived by his son, Roy Jr. "Sonny" and his daughter-in-law, Oveta; grandson, Jay and his wife Rita; granddaughter, Janette; and great-granddaughters Jennifer and Christine.

Services were held Jan. 5, 2005, at Grant Mortuary Chapel with Bishop Joe Ence conducting.

The organist was Myrna Ence and the soloist was Wanda Brown. The opening prayer was given by Marvin Cattoor.

The opening hymn was "The Old Rugged Cross."

A poem, "Footprints In The Sand" was read by Karen Cattoor.

The eulogy and remarks were given by Joe Ence.

A poem, "The Chain" was read by Jennifer Harris.

The closing hymn was "God Be With You Til We Meet Again."

The closing prayer was given by Dustin Ence.

Pallbearers were Jay Harris, Dustin Ence, George Ence, Mike Duzik, Marvin Cattoor and Jim Bohrer.

Honorary pallbearers were "All Roy's Family and Many Friends."

Interment was at Craig Cemetery, with a dedication of the grave by Joe Ence.

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