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Nature 14


Mary Helen Harris

December 31, 1936 ~ May 25, 2018 (age 81)

Mary Helen Dorchester Harris died peacefully surrounded by her family on May 25, 2018. She was born on New Year’s Eve, 1936 to Dean and Frances Dorchester.

Mary Helen was born and grew up in Galveston, Texas and received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  After graduation, she returned home to Galveston and began her elementary teaching career.  She especially loved teaching children to read.

While in Galveston she met Max Harris on a blind date. Max was attending medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).  They married in 1960 after he graduated from medical school.  They immediately moved to Indianapolis, IN where Max completed his internship and Mary Helen taught reading to multiple elementary age students (all in the same classroom!). 

After his medical internship, Max and Mary Helen returned to Galveston where Max completed a 4 year residency in Internal Medicine at UTMB while Mary Helen continued her elementary teaching career. She retired from teaching when the family moved to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, KS where Max served as physician and an Air Force Captain for 2 years.  After completing his service, the Harris family moved to Harlingen, TX where Max started his medical practice in Internal Medicine and Mary Helen became active in her children’s schools and numerous community groups.

Mary Helen served as President of the Harlingen Junior Service League, President of the Cameron/Willacy Medical Auxiliary, Board member and President of the Salvation Army, member of The Rio Grande Valley Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae group, member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, member of Chapter T PEO Sisterhood, Board Member of Gladys Porter Zoo for 30 years and member of First United Methodist Church of Harlingen for 50 years where she served on countless committees.

Mary Helen was preceded in death by her sister, Deanna Dorchester Bradshaw and her son, Max Harris, Jr.  She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Max Harris, her daughter Cathy Harris McConnell, her son-in-law Mike McConnell and her grandson, Harris Michael McConnell.

A celebration of her life will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Harlingen on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, at 10:00 A.M., with a reception to follow in the Fellowship Hall at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to First United Methodist Church, 321 E. Harrison, Harlingen, TX 78550, Gladys Porter Zoo, 500 E. Ringgold St., Brownsville, TX 78520, Salvation Army, 114 E. Jackson Ave., Harlingen, TX 78550, Loaves and Fishes, 514 S E. St., Harlingen, TX 78550  or a charity of your choice.

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