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John J. Harris

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Memories & Candles

“Mr. Harris came to CHS when we were a senior and sophomore. He always forgot his glasses and sent Jerry to your home to get them. I have been...Read More »
1 of 32 | Posted by: Jerry and Sharon Russell

“My condolences to the family of John Harris. He is one of the people in my life who I am honored to have known. I suspect someday when and if I make...Read More »
2 of 32 | Posted by: Dean Fife - class of 74

“My sympathy and prayers go to Debbie, Leslie, and Wendy at the time of the death of your great dad. He was a wonderful mentor to many of our...Read More »
3 of 32 | Posted by: Juanita Dunn

“My condolences to the family of John Harris. John was a special person and a great inspiration to those of us who were fortunate to have known him...Read More »
4 of 32 | Posted by: Edward Lynam

“Many people pass through our lives daily but few remain in our hearts. John was one of those who will be in our hearts forever. He was very...Read More »
5 of 32 | Posted by: Ellen Mohr

“Dear Wendy, My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your Dad with us. I hope the many memories and good wishes provide...Read More »
6 of 32 | Posted by: Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker

“To Debbie Eggers and her family ... I am so sorry for your loss. Your father will never be forgotten. ”
7 of 32 | Posted by: Judy (Butrick) Shepherd

“My condolences to John's family. I knew John Harris from my years as a student at Corning High School, where he lead, inspired, amused as teacher,...Read More »
8 of 32 | Posted by: Carol A. Johnson

“My sincere condolences to the family of John Harris. When asked who was the most influential person in your life. Without hesitation, I always say...Read More »
9 of 32 | Posted by: Wayne Orstad

“To Debbie, Leslie and Wendy: The memories of your dad will be forever etched in our minds as students and also admirers of your Dad's impact on...Read More »
10 of 32 | Posted by: Vicki Cerven-Astell

“Paul and I not only enjoyed having John as a teacher but also have enjoyed visiting with him at school activities for our children, Katie, Will and...Read More »
11 of 32 | Posted by: Paul and Janet (Pearson) Johannes

“My heart and prayers are with the Harris family and the Corning Community. John has touched so many lives in a positive way, including my own. He...Read More »
12 of 32 | Posted by: JImmie Barton- 1987

“To Debbie, Leslie and Wendy: What a wonderful father you girls had and will always have within you. I used to babysit you when you were little ...Read More »
13 of 32 | Posted by: Patty Law Wilson

“My deepest sympathy to the Harris family,, especially Debbie who was one of my classmates. I still have a few lumps on my head courtesy of Coach...Read More »
14 of 32 | Posted by: John Sullivan

“My condolences to the Harris family. John is remembered fondly from my years at Corning High. Kay Johnson Montreal, QC (class of '68) ”
15 of 32 | Posted by: Kay Johnson

“I was deeply upset to hear about John passing.. Few Coaches could have had a more BOOMING voice or commanded such respect. No one in there right...Read More »
16 of 32 | Posted by: Mark Schafer

“On behalf of the Wood family (all but 1 of us kids had the honor and pleasure of John J. as a teacher and/or mentor), my thoughts and prayers are...Read More »
17 of 32 | Posted by: Wendy (Wood) Hultman, CHS Class of 1981

“Debbie, Leslie, Wendy and your families, My sincerest sympathies to you. What a wonderful man your father was and a true gift to CHS! He was the...Read More »
18 of 32 | Posted by: Jean Sullivan

“My sincere condolences to the Harris daughters and their families. Even though "Coach" Harris wasn't my sports coach--he was my History teacher and a...Read More »
19 of 32 | Posted by: Cindy Tice Swoyer

“Goodbye, Coach. You not only coached me through the years, bu once told me I could be whatever I wanted. When the guidance counsellor said I wouldn...Read More »
20 of 32 | Posted by: Phil Long, Class of 1970

“Our sincere sympathy to the Harris daughters and their families. John will be missed by all of Corning and many others--he made us all smile. ”
21 of 32 | Posted by: Jerry & Pat Getter

“My deepest sympathy to the daughters and families of John J. He was such a wonderful teacher and coach -- A real icon of CHS. He will be missed and...Read More »
22 of 32 | Posted by: Cindy (Beard) Bohnhoff

“I just wanted to express my deepest sympathy to all who loved Mr. Harris. He was a great teacher and mentor. He would always there to listen if you...Read More »
23 of 32 | Posted by: Dawn (Schaffer) McClain

“Words cannot express my feelings in the loss of John, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend. He truly was an icon to all and a...Read More »
24 of 32 | Posted by: Darlene Kesner & Family

“My deepest sympathy to the family of John J Harris on the passing of a great individual who made a huge difference in the lives of so many people he...Read More »
25 of 32 | Posted by: Matt E Darrah

“Dear Harris Family, The lives that John J. touched will be forever, his smile and enthusiasm for youth and life will long be remembered. I can...Read More »
26 of 32 | Posted by: Jane (cooley) Mack

“My deepest sympathy goes out to the entire family. He was a great person and teacher. I will never forget all the time I spent with him as a...Read More »
27 of 32 | Posted by: DeAnna (Haley) James

“John was a friend and mentor to me when I was started teaching and coaching. He was a true educator and in education for all of the right reasons. He...Read More »
28 of 32 | Posted by: Chad Cook

“I met John Harris sitting outside the Grinnell College dressing room taking off his cleats after a practice in about 1950. I was in grade school then...Read More »
29 of 32 | Posted by: Dave Adkins

“You have our deepest sympathy. Johns impact on wrestling in SW Iowa will be long remembered. Mike Beaman and Family Former wrestler and Coach...Read More »
30 of 32 | Posted by: Mike and Linda Beaman

“Sending deepest sympathy, I am sure I speak for many to say John had a large positive impact of the community of Corning, he will never be forgotten. ”
31 of 32 | Posted by: Cherokie

“John touched so many lives. Every member of my family felt a personal connection to him. We have long considered him a friend, as well as a...Read More »
32 of 32 | Posted by: Nancy and Dale Amdor


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Burial of cremains will be at the Walnut Grove Cemtery in Corning, Iowa at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Corning Education Foundation, Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Foundation, the Corning Public Library and/or the First Presbyterian Church in Corning.

John James Harris, son of John Fitzpatrick and Gladys Harris, was born March 23, 1929 in Concord, New Hampshire. John died Sunday, February 22, 2009 at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska at the age of seventy-nine years, eleven months and two days.

In 1936, Gladys became the housekeeper for Crosby Lewis on a farm in rural Concord. Crosby's children, John and Ellen Lewis became like siblings, since John J. was an only child. The two Johns were inseparable in work and play. Gladys and John later moved to Concord, where John participated in football, wrestling, and track; he specialized in the hammer throw. After graduation from Concord High, John and friend, Paul, attended Grinnell College on football scholarships. They traveled west from N. H. to Iowa via the train, looking out the windows so they could see the "cowboys and Indians"! After that, they usually hitchhiked the 1300 miles. John met sophomore Elisabeth Katz the end of his freshman year.

On September 3, 1949, John and Beth were united in marriage in Chicago, Illinois. John dropped out of college and worked several jobs so Beth could graduate. Beth taught John how to drive a car after he was hired to work in a gas station! Beth graduated in 1951, and then she worked so John could finish his college degree. Debbie was born in Grinnell in 1951. John graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor's Degree and coaching endorsement, later receiving his Master's Degree at NWMS.

John's first teaching job was in Baldwin, Iowa. Believe it or not, he coached boys and girls basketball! John, Beth and Debbie, moved to Corning in 1954. Leslie was born that year and Wendy in 1958. John spent 55 years as a teacher, coach, and Athletic Director for the Corning School District. He coached Junior High and High School football, baseball, wrestling and cross country. In 1955, John started the Red Raider Wrestling Tournament. In 1986 the tournament was renamed in his honor and continues to be one of the premier wrestling events in the state of Iowa. John formally retired in 1991, remaining the Athletic Department Liaison until his death.

John was known by his whistle, grin, ring thumps, muffin bread and VW Bugs that hauled baseball equipment and students. A man who grew up without a father, was indeed a father figure and mentor to many generations, including his assistant wrestling coaches. John will be missed, but not forgotten.

John was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Corning, the Hospital Foundation, the Corning Educational Foundation, the Iowa Athletic Directors Association, the Iowa Wrestling Coaches Association, Adams Community Ambassadors, the Corning Opera House Board and Rotary. John's tireless service and leadership with many organizations was recognized by numerous local, state and national awards throughout his life.

Proceeding John in death were his mother in 1991 and wife, Beth, in 2001. John is survived by three daughters: Debbie (husband Dave) Eggers of Papillion, Nebraska, Leslie (husband Jack) Jeatran of Menomonie, Wisconsin and Wendy (husband Mike) Butler of Burnsville, Minnesota; five grandchildren: Kristen (husband Aaron) Mead, Jonathan (wife Nichole) Eggers, Brette Jeatran (fiance` Drew Garnatz), Tara Jeatran and Blair Butler; three great-grandchildren: Rhys Harris Mead, Meaghan Mead, and Addison Eggers.

Thank you to the medical professionals, caregivers, and friends who were such an important part of John's life.

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