Our Mama left today, June 17th, 2021. She was 89 years young. She had a good day. Her caregiver, Lauren, talked and laughed with Mama most of the day. Lauren fed her and she ate every bite of her evening meal. It was chicken, she loved chicken. She asked for her Blue Bell ice cream that we had taken for her, and she ate two cups, chocolate and homemade vanilla. Lauren pulled Mama’s covers up around her neck, tucked her puppy dog blanket in with her and then turned around to attend to her roommate. She left the room briefly to return their trays to the kitchen. Within minutes, Lauren was called back to Mama’s room by one of the other helpers. Mama was just gone! She simply closed her eyes and left very peacefully. They said it never ever happens this way. What a way to go!
Our Mother, Eva Mae Pittman Harris, was born in Toledo, Ohio on November 27th, 1931. She was from a large family of ten children. When she was a very young child, her family moved to El Dorado, Arkansas to care for her grandmother. Her Mother named her Evie Mae, but she didn’t like that name so her first grade teacher called her Eva.
She loved school and excelled in Math, English, and Business classes. Her teachers used to pay her to grade their students’ papers and type the tests for their classes. She was great at typing on an old manual Underwood typewriter at over 100 words per minute with minimum errors. Mama was the first child to graduate in her family. She graduated from Mount Holly High School in Mount Holly, Arkansas as Valedictorian of her senior class. Her brothers were so proud of her and bought her high school ring. She truly cherished that ring.
She was visiting her sister Ruth’s home when she met our Daddy, Kenneth LaVelle Harris. He had come with her brother Chuck. Mama was helping babysit Ruth’s six children. Daddy said he saw Mama peaking around the fireplace outside and she had the biggest brown eyes he had ever seen. Mama said that Daddy and his brother, Jimmy Dean, were the most handsome men that she had ever seen!
Their love story began and shortly after, Daddy was drafted into the Army, headed to Korea to fight in the Korean Conflict. He didn’t know if he would return from battle and felt it unfair to ask Mama to marry him at that time. Mama gave him her heart and her class ring and he carried it along with a small white Bible that his Uncle Arthur Waller had given him before his departure.
Daddy served on the front lines in Korea as a cook. While he was overseas, Mama’s high school business teacher, Mrs. Harris, offered to pay her way to college, but her parents refused her generous offer. So, instead, Mrs. Harris helped Mama get her first job at the El Dorado Times newspaper by assisting her with business classes, taking her to her job interview and giving her a great reference. Mama just loved Mrs. Harris and her new job. She said sometimes she would work late in the night to finish a story for the next morning’s publication.
Shortly after Daddy’s return from Korea, they were married in a packed church in El Dorado, Arkansas in the pouring rain at Mount Olive Baptist on March 1st, 1953. They moved to Galveston, Texas and quickly began to build their family. They were married 57 years, made a comfortable home in Texas City, Texas and raised four children there, Vicky Lee Harris Baldwin (David), Victor LaVelle Harris (Nancy), William Alexander Harris (Ericia), and Joseph Carlton Harris (Linda).
Our Mama was truly a Proverbs 31 woman. She loved the Lord and attended Abundant Life Christian Center with David and Vicky for the last ten years. She especially enjoyed reading the Proverbs and we prayed the Lord’s Prayer every night before bedtime. She was a loving, devoted, supportive wife to Daddy. She was a homemaker, kept a spotless home and always had supper on the table when Daddy got home from work. She cared for her family. She was a great money manager and always found a way to stretch the household budget. She gave her life so that everyone around her could be a success. She had a heart to serve. Mama was a compassion, loving, gracious and generous woman. You always had an open invitation to Mama and Daddy’s house. She put others ahead of herself and no one ever left their home hungry. She fed breakfast to all of the kids in the neighborhood before school and then all of those kids came back as adults with their families. Holidays were always huge at our home. Mama loved to entertain. There was a gift for everyone at Christmas and birthdays and always plenty of food. Mama learned how to cook at an early age because she didn’t like working in the fields picking cotton. Her Mother taught her and there wasn’t anything that Mama didn’t know how to cook and it was always delicious!
Our precious Mother suffered with Alzheimer’s for over twelve years and was in the final stage before her promotion to heaven. She had fallen in the bathroom on September 14th, 2020 and broken her left hip. Her diseased brain would not allow her to remember or follow the physical therapist’s instructions for rehab. She hadn’t walked in eight months, although her Orthopedic Surgeon said that her hip was completely healed.
Our Mother is in heaven walking and running on streets of gold alongside our Daddy. What a family reunion she is having! She was met by her parents Aaron Alexander Pittman and Pennie Mae Smallwood Pittman, brothers John Robert Pittman (Mabel), sister Ruth Slaughter (Tommy), James William “Dub” Pittman (Joyce), Jesse Thomas “J.T” Pittman, Aaron Charles “Chuck” Pittman, Edward Junior “Red” Pittman, her sisters Ruth Slaughter (Tommy), Violet Marie Pittman, brother- in-laws Jimmy Dean Harris and Tommy Dean, also a very special lifelong friend, Wilma Jean Tissue Rowell and two beloved fur babies, Ranger and Tonto who gave her great joy and pleasure for over fifteen years.
Mama left her sister Mary Lou Dean, brother Jerry Wayne Pittman, sister- in-laws Nell Pittman, Nellie Pittman, Ola Ann Freeman (Bob), Peggie Harris, five grandchildren Kathryne Hope Pierce (Dory Byers), Matthew Alexander Harris (Darbi), Timothy Wayne Harris (Meghan), Melissa Gerlock (Rick), Eva Marie Owens (Brandon), ten great grandchildren Alrik Tru’ Pierce, Gavin Blain Harris, Skylar Harris, Waylon Alexander Harris, Breezleigh Bae Harris, Ryan Andrew Owens, Remi Mae Owens, Rylee Kay Owens and a host of nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors to cherish her memories.
Our family would like to publicly acknowledge our Mother’s caregivers, Monica Jaggers, Robin Creel at Seasons Personal Care Home in Hitchcock, Texas and her staff, Dr. Tae Rae Jasmine and her great staff at Proverbial Care Personal Care Home in Pearland, Texas, and Essentials Hospice in Webster, Texas. We are so very appreciative of your love and care for Mama. Ladies, you have blessed our family!
What A Way To Go! I Can Only Imagine!
A viewing will be held for our mother on Friday, June 25, 2021 from 6-8 p.m. Her Home Going service is Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 10 a.m. Both of these gatherings will be held at Baileys Funeral Home in El Dorado, Arkansas. A Committal service will follow by procession at Harris Family Cemetery on Parnell Road in El Dorado.
Mother loved flowers but other memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at act.alz.org or to your local Humane Society.
*Please refer to emkenlinton.com for Mama’s complete obituary.