Fred Wesley Harris


Fred Wesley Harris, age 63, died on April 6, 2015 at his home in Bowling Green, Ohio.

He was born in Bellefontaine, Ohio, to the late Donald Harris and Ramona (Watkins) Harris on October 8, 1951. He was a graduate of Bellefontaine High School and earned his BA at Harvard University, where he studied English and American Literature. He completed all the course work for a Ph.D. in literature at Bowling Green State University before embarking on a long career in journalism as a reporter and editor for a number of newspapers, retiring from the Naples Daily News in 2007.

Fred was a sensitive, brilliant, kind, supremely talented, and funny man. He savored every moment of life and was passionately curious about everything. To listen to a symphony orchestra with Fred was to experience the sublimity of the music in a completely new and profound way. To listen to rock and roll, jazz, or the blues with Fred was nonpareil; he not only loved the music, he knew everything there was to know about it — who wrote it, who recorded it, who covered it — not to mention every last one of the  lyrics. Fred was a talented musician, a wordsmith of the first order, and a lover of beauty in all its forms. He could quote with equal ease writers from Shakespeare to Kerouac, Samuel Johnson to Allen Ginsberg, Blake to the Beatles. During his years in Colorado, he became an avid hunter and fisherman. He was open and outgoing, and he had a positive genius for making friends. In fact, Fred had friends from every walk of life all over the world, and he loved to regale his companions with stories of the people — famous, infamous, and just plain fascinating--whom he met at Harvard and during his careers as a musician and journalist. Fred’s sense of humor ranged from the sarcastic to the downright silly, from raucous to refined, and it was always a delight to be in his company. 

Fred was preceded in death by daughter Caitlyn and son Trevor. He is survived by his wife, Karen Hopkins Harris; stepdaughter, Elizabeth Meyers, both of Bowling Green, OH; mother, Ramona Harris, of Wapakoneta, OH; daughters Courtenay (Robert) Cortez, of Monte Vista, CO, Taylor Harris, of Lima, OH; sisters Danyse (David) Christiansen, of Wapakoneta, Holly (Adam) Van Buskirk, of Bellefontaine; brother Kevin (Laurie) Harris, of Bellefontaine; seven grandchildren; and seven nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be at the Eichholtz Daring & Sanford Funeral Home, 321 North Main Street, Bellefontaine, OH on Saturday, April 11, 2015, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, with a ceremony celebrating Fred’s life beginning at 4:00. A private burial will take place at Bellefontaine Cemetery on Monday, April 13.

Memorial contributions may be sent in Fred’s honor to the Donald Harris Music Scholarship Fund at Bellefontaine High School.

Eichholtz Daring & Sanford Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.

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