Robert Elbert Harris Jr.

Robert (Bob) Elbert Harris Jr., 79, passed away on November 25, 2022, in Bentonville, Ark. He was a graduate of Arkadelphia High School, where he was a letterman in several sports (Go Badgers!) and Henderson State University, where he entered the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He also obtained a master's degree from Webster University in St. Louis, Mo. He was a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves with over 20 years of active-duty service. He started his active duty as a Mohawk Army Aviator in the Vietnam War and finished it in the Army Personnel Center (ARPERCEN) in St. Louis, Mo. Between those duty posts he also served in the 431st Civil Affairs Co. (later Battalion), an Army Hospital Unit, and as an Inspector General in the American territory of Puerto Rico. We need to also mention a 10-year attempt to try civilian life as a banker working for First American National Bank in North Little Rock, and Citizens Bank of Jacksonville. He was successful, but it didn't take, and he eventually went back to military life. He had numerous military awards, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, and 10 (he would want us to emphasize the 10) Air Medals. He was an avid golfer. We say avid-you should read addicted. He could still shoot in the 70's into his late 60's. He was a pro-level needler on the golf course especially if the match was tight late. You hated him if he needed to make a 10-footer on 18 to beat you, because he usually sank those. He loved the horse races, (even attempted owning a few) and loved the fifth season at Oaklawn Park. He loved to travel, but especially enjoyed cruising with his wife Mary Ann Harris. He was a cancer survivor-beating several types of cancer over his life. He attended First United Methodist Church in Bentonville and volunteered for the American Cancer Society. Lately he had been entertaining his coffee group with tall tales of golf, horse races, grandkids, and the Army on occasional mornings at McDonalds in Bentonville. He loved the Razorbacks, Cardinals, hunting, fishing, family, golf, and people in general. He loved to visit with anyone, and rarely met a stranger for long. He embodied the term "Arkansan". He is preceded in death by his parents Robert E. Harris Sr. and Lucille Harris of Cabot, Ark. His wife Mary Ann Harris, of Bentonville, and an infant grandson Noah Harris of Little Rock. He is survived by a sister, Martha Harris Poplin (Jerry) of North Little Rock, Ark., and sons Robert E. (Bobby) Harris (Kimberly) of Little Rock, Ark., and John P. Thessing of Lowell, Ark., and daughters Rebecca (Becky) Akester (Lee) of Conway, Ark., and Christyn Thessing Yoast (Kevin) of Thomkins Cove, N.Y. He was "Pap" to five living grandchildren: Brynna, Natalie, Trey, Jackson, and Lucas; and a brand-new great-granddaughter, Isla. There will be a memorial service for Bob on December 27th, 11 a.m., at First United Methodist Church in Bentonville, Ark. He will be interred at the National Cemetery in Fayetteville, Ark., at a date to be determined.

Published December 6, 2022