Tom Harris passed away on Tuesday, March 5, at the age of 93.
He will be greatly missed by all those who loved him, his family and many friends. He is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Fosgate of Mariposa, daughter Cynthia Lenz and her husband Jerry Lenz both of Montague, Calif., and grandchildren David Lenz of Montague, and Hanna Linn Elmore of Goldvein, Va.
Harris was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Ann Harris, who passed away in September of 2017.
Tom was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1925. He grew up on a farm in Idaho, riding a horse to school and hunting with his dad and their dogs. It was a hard existence that eventually forced the family to relocate to Los Angeles when Tom was 7 years old. The remainder of his childhood was spent in Lynwood, a small community near Compton, where he met his future wife, Ann. They were still just kids when they met around 1938. After their marriage in 1947, Tom and Ann settled briefly in Long Beach, where their first daughter Cyndie was born, then made a home in Riverside, where second daughter Jennifer was born.
They relocated to Santa Cruz County in 1968, where they had a home in Aptos for 42 years before moving to Mariposa in 2009. Earlier this year Tom had relocated to the Veterans Home of California, in Fresno. Both Tom and his wife Ann had long careers in education, teaching at both the elementary and junior high school levels.
After retiring in the early 1980s, Tom and wife Ann took full advantage of their freedom to travel by enjoying multiple cruises to Alaska, the Caribbean and Hawaii. They drove across the United States in a camper, visited Ann’s distant cousin in Oxford, England, and joined their daughter Jennifer and her family on vacations in Mexico, Hawaii and Nevada. During numerous camping trips they explored the scenic wonders of the western United States and Canada, and frequently visited their favorite California locations, especially Yosemite and other regions of the Sierra Nevada.
Like his wife Ann, Tom was an artist, earning a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from Fullerton State University. Tom and Ann collaborated on the creation of porcelain ceramics, which they displayed and sold at Kit Carson Lodge for many years. Tom made cups, vases and bowls which Ann decorated with native wildflowers. Their many beautiful pots were always on display in their home, and friends enjoy them still.
Tom described himself as a “pretty happy old guy.” Indeed, his many friends knew this to be true. He was a good listener, and helped many people better their lives. For most of his life he was active in local fellowships, using the Serenity Prayer as his guide.
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Cremation services will be provided by Neptune Society of Fresno. A memorial service for family and friends will be scheduled at a later date.