Friday, May 30, 2003


Louise Harris, English teacher

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FOREST PARK - Louise Harris, an English teacher at Woodward High School in Cincinnati for 20 years, loved her students as though they were her own children.

"Many times (my sister) Sharon and I took a back seat to her students," her daughter, Harolyn Harris of Forest Park, said proudly.

"She loved us. And when I say 'us' that's a collective body of her family, students and friends," Harolyn Harris said. "She lived a full, wonderful life and gave us a wonderful life and education."

Mrs. Harris, 75, who was named one of Woodward's outstanding teachers in 1982, died of pulmonary fibrosis Monday at Hospice of Cincinnati in Blue Ash. The longtime Silverton resident had moved to Forest Park to be near her daughters.

Born in Montgomery, Ala., in 1927, Mrs. Harris was an outstanding student. She graduated cum laude at 16 and was salutatorian of her high school. She won a full scholarship to Alabama State University and earned her bachelor's degree in education three years later. By the time she was 19, she was teaching in a backwoods Alabama town called Clio.

After her marriage to Josephus Harris in 1950, she moved to Cincinnati, where she earned a master's degree in education from Xavier University. Mrs. Harris later was an education instructor at the University of Cincinnati.

She began teaching English at Taft High School in the West End in 1957 and moved to Woodward, now in Bond Hill, in 1965.

"She was more than a teacher," her daughter said. "Her biggest joy was being at Woodward. She was real strict on her kids, but they knew that she loved them."

At Woodward, Mrs. Harris was instrumental in developing new curricula and starting the first black history program.

She was a "role model for all students that came into contact with her," said her daughter.

She was also dedicated to her church, Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Walnut Hills. She was a church officer and past president of the Stewardess Board No. 1 and the Camille Hood Crusader's Club.

Mrs. Harris was a past vice president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, Cincinnati Alumni Chapter, and a member of Phi Delta Kappa Sorority, the NAACP, Queen City Bridge Unit, Marionettes Bridge Club and the Pan City Garden Club.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 44 years in 1994.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include another daughter, Sharon D. Marcus of Forest Park; a son, Robert Washington of Forest Park; three grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

Visitation is 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, to be followed by the funeral at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, 2804 Alms Place. Burial will be at Spring Grove Cemetery.


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