Joe Tom Harris was born on November 2, 1929, in Dilley, Texas. He passed away January 15, 2020, at his home in Nacogdoches. His parents were Julia Hester and Talmadge Boon Harris of Cotulla, Texas. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Rita Harris Arche; and son, Joe Tom Harris, Jr.
Joe graduated from Cotulla High School in 1947 where he lettered in football and basketball, and he was an outstanding student. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1948 and served one year active duty.
From there, Joe attended the University of Texas where he was selected as an outstanding student, president of the Silver Spurs, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Air Force ROTC, distinguished military student, and Vice President of Oak Grove. Joe graduated with his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Texas, at Austin.
He met his wife, Emily Summers, at the University of Texas, and they married in 1952. After teaching in Austin for six years, he took a job teaching mathematics and coaching in 1958 at Nacogdoches High School. His first coaching assignment under Coach Gene Hale was to coach seventh grade football and assist the NHS basketball program.
In 1961, the Dragons played in the state championship game in Austin and lost by one point. In 1962, Joe became the head junior high football coach and the NHS basketball coach. When coach L.H. Matthews became the head coach in 1966, Joe was asked to coach the Dragon backfield and the linebackers. They, with Coach Phil Prince, were a very successful team, as their football teams won district in 1965 and were co-champions in 1969.
In 1969, Joe’s father Talmadge Boon Harris died, and family land and cattle responsibilities took Joe away from education, as he tended to the family ranch in South Texas. In 1996, Joe returned to his great love of teaching mathematics.
He taught algebra at Thomas J. Rusk and McMichael Middle Schools until his health forced him to retire in 2008.
Joe was a member of the First Christian Church. He loved his church, where he served as board member, Deacon, Sunday School teacher, and, best of all, nursery worker and leader of the Children’s Church.
Joe and Emily have a daughter, Nina Lynn Harris-Clark-Perry. Also, a later son, Joe Tom Harris, Jr.; three grandchildren, George Foote Clark, IV and wife Cassie Bradock and their daughter Julia, Arthur Boone Clark and wife Annelise Williams and their son Spencer, and Autumn Emily Harris and husband Zach Taylor.
Joe loved the Lord, his family, his country, and his teaching. He did it all well.
The family would like to express their appreciation to Dr. Vijaya Pokala, his nurses, and staff at Nacogdoches Cardiac Center for their wonderful care. They would also like to thank Johnny Brenon, Marisol Ramirez, Rosita Juarez, and Maddi Levingston for their faithful and tender care for Joe.
Friends and family are invited to a visitation from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Saturday, January 18, 2020, at Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors. There will be a private family graveside service at Dilley Cemetery in Dilley, Texas on Sunday, January 19, 2020.
Arrangements are under the direction of Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors, Nacogdoches.