Mary Charlotte Smith Harris
After a short illness, Mary Charlotte Smith Harris passed away Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter.
This accomplished woman was born October 20, 1938, in Aberdeen, MS to Mary and Rushton Smith. She was the second of three children.
After graduating from Aberdeen High School, Charlotte earned a B. S. in Elementary Education from Mississippi State College for Women. While at the “W”, Charlotte was tapped to be a member of the Mamselles Social Club. In 1972 she was granted a Masters of Science Degree in Special Education from Mississippi State University.
In 1959 Charlotte married James Edward Harris in Aberdeen, MS. They made their home in Tupelo, MS until 1966 when, after moving to Amory, MS, Charlotte founded the Lovely Lane School for mentally handicapped children. Lovely Lane was incorporated into the public school system in 1970. She set up the curriculum and taught classes there until 1972. During the summers from 1968-72, Charlotte assisted in establishing camping programs for mentally handicapped children at Camp Lake Stephens in Oxford, MS and Camp Bratton Green in Canton, MS.
After moving with her family to Jackson, MS in 1972, Charlotte became director of The Achievement Center, an education and psychological studies center for children with learning disabilities. During this time she also taught classes at the Mississippi State University Research and Development Center in Jackson, MS.
Beginning in 1984, Charlotte was employed by the Rankin County School District teaching Special Education classes. In 1990 she was named Teacher of The Year at Brandon Middle School. Charlotte retired in 2000 and in 2005 moved to Wilmington, NC to be with her daughter and family. A lifelong Methodist, she joined St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Wilmington so that she could worship with her family.
Over the years Charlotte was active in many civic and service clubs and in her church. Volunteer work included serving on the State of Mississippi Foster Child Care Review Board. She was also a member of many professional organizations. Charlotte, with a childhood friend, while wearing heels, once chased Elvis across a high school baseball field.
Charlotte is survived by her daughter, Mary Elizabeth Harris Allison, favorite son-in-law, Ryan Allison, and her beloved granddaughter, Meredith Allison. She is also survived by her sister, Elizabeth Ann Smith McGarr of Greensboro, NC and C. R. “Bubba” Smith, Jr. of Aberdeen, MS and many much loved nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
She was preceded in death by husband and love of her life, Jim Harris, and her parents, Rushton and Mary Smith. The many lives that she touched are the richer for it. She will be missed.
Charlotte’s Mississippi farewell will be held at Tisdale-Lann Memorial Funeral Home, Aberdeen, MS on Saturday, November 20th. Visitation will be at 10:00 a.m., a service in the funeral home chapel at 11:00 a.m., with interment to follow at Odd Fellow’s Cemetery. A Memorial Service celebrating Charlotte’s life will be held at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Wilmington, NC, on Wednesday, November 24th, at 2:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1406 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC, 28401 or Special Olympics, 1133 19th Street NW, 12th floor, Washington, DC, 20036-3604.
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Wilmington Burial and Cremation Service, 1535 S 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099