Vena Beatrice Holt Harris

Published 7:45 am Tuesday, April 28, 2020

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Mrs. Vena Beatrice Holt Harris, 92, formerly of 673 S. Salisbury St., Mocksville, died on Sunday, April 26, 2020.

She was born in Surry County to the late Emery Weldon and Drucilla Hurt Holt, Oct. 1, 1927, the youngest of 8 children. She was also preceded in death by: her husband of 50 years, James Roy Harris; plus 5 brothers and 2 sisters.

Survivors: a daughter, June Harris Johnson (Bill) of Mocksville; a son, Joe C. Harris (Debby) of Mocksville; 7 grandchildren, Ellyn Johnson Owens (Chris) of Winston-Salem, William Johnson (Scottie) of Bermuda Run, Wesley  Johnson (Leila) of Lewisville, Tiffany Harris Lakey (Alan) and Meredith Harris Wagstaff (Neil) of  Mocksville, Andrea Jo Harris of Mooresville, and Landon Harris (Hayley) of Chapel Hill;  12  great-grandchildren, Charlie Owens, Ben Owens, Anna Jane Owens, Claire Johnson, Chloe Johnson, Whitman Johnson, Caroline Lakey, Katherine Lakey,  M.C. Lakey, Olivia Wagstaff, Harris Wagstaff, and Natalie Jo;  2 sisters-in-law, Mary Harris of Mocksville and Mildred Harris of Greensboro; numerous nieces and nephews; and her care-giving team of the past 10 years, including Latoya Bohannon, Holly Campbell, Crystal Cockerham, Aiyanna Doulin, Darlene Easter, Libby Foster, Shirl Gadson, Sherrie Lowe, Nanette Naylor, Sandra Phelps, Carla Poplin, and the late Ruth Smith.

After the death of her mother when she was 6 and the departure of her siblings at age 12, she assumed all household duties on the farm. This molded a philosophy of life that included hard work and devotion to family and faith. A graduate of Draughn’s Business School, Mrs. Harris began her career at the Bank of Elkin in 1945.  A year after her marriage to Roy Harris in 1948, they launched a business venture, Davie Auto Parts, in Mocksville, where her skills became integral to its success.  She remained active in the business until her retirement in 2003.

Family was her pride and joy as she instilled in them her high personal standards and Christian values.  She stressed integrity and commitment, education and excellence, good manners and social graces, all tempered with kindness and generosity. Her love of facing challenges and embracing hard work were infectious. She and Roy knew the importance of traditions, many originating around the dinner table highlighting a menu with barbecued rabbit or freshly caught fish.  Their log cabin hosted not only family events, but also special occasions with friends.

Mrs. Harris enjoyed ssharing gifts from her kitchen, sending cards expressing love and encouragement, visiting seniors, and directing weddings. She and husband, Roy, were proud of their community and worked diligently to continue its progress. She served as scout leader, member of the Mocksville Woman’s Club, Davie County Hospital Auxiliary, and Order of the Eastern Star.  She was a board member of the Advocacy Center of Davie and Davie Library Board of Trustees, serving as chair. She was most proud of the new library built during that time. She also served on the Mocksville Planning and Zoning Board for 28 years, 18 as chair. Mrs. Harris was an active member of First Baptist Church where she served many years as treasurer, librarian, Sunday School teacher, CARE Team leader, and on the stewardship and nominating committees. She was voted FBC Senior of the Year in 2009. The Mocksville Town Board and Mayor Francis Slate honored Mrs. Harris with the first “Key to the City” in 2000.  She was also awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for outstanding service to her community in 2005. She accepted theses accolades as she lived her life with humility and grace.

A private graveside service and a later celebration of life are planned with Dr. Van Lankford officiating.

Memorials: First Baptist Building Fund, 412 N. Main St., Mocksville; or Davie Community Foundation, PO Box 546, Mocksville with Harris/Johnson Fund for Senior Citizens in the memo.