There will be a visitation 4 - 7pm Wednesday, August 3, 2022, at Ott & Lee Funeral Home in Brandon, MS.
James Edward Harris, Jr.
November 2, 1947 – July 25, 2022
Over the years, he was called many things: James, Jimmy, Jim, Uncle Jimmy, Mr. James, Boss man, candy man, papaw, papa, but I got the privilege of calling him Daddy. He wasn’t a perfect man, but who on Earth can claim they are perfect? His love was deep and it was strong. He was quick tempered, and there would be no apology, but kind words and lunch could be expected when he got over his anger. I got in trouble when I deserved it and I got hugged whether I deserved it or not. I never doubted his love.
For many years, everyone in town knew him and I was just referred to as, Mr. James’ daughter or Little James, sometimes LJ. I didn’t tell him but I liked it. Brandon changed so much in the 25 years that he owned Value Mart Shell, but he never wavered. Empty fields became businesses and old houses were torn down to make way for new subdivisions. People loved him for the same reasons that they disliked him. He was honest to a fault. He’d give you the shirt off his back, only once though. Don’t make the mistake of taking his kindness for weakness. He was anything but weak.
In grade school when I said, “My dad is bigger than your dad”, he was and I meant it. I also loved saying that. Before I got too tall, I’d hold his bicep and he’d lift me right off the ground. We played golf, fished (even though he said my talking scared the fish away), he taught me to play softball, and how to be kind and tough. He could do it all in my eyes.
As I got older, we butted heads, teenagers are the worst, let’s be honest, but he loved us fiercely and protected us at all costs. He used to love to say that he told me ‘my way or the highway’ and I built an overpass. He told the same jokes over and over and laughed so hard he coughed and couldn’t catch his breath. These are the memories that we’ll cherish.
Over the last few years, as his body failed him from decades of untreated nerve damage, he became a shell of the man he once was, struggling to do the most simple of tasks. He stopped laughing and smiling and we all changed right along with him. We stopped remembering the best of him, because he stopped remembering the best of him. We may have made a mistake in a way, but in another, how could we have lived any other way.
Then his heart failed him, both literally and figuratively. Now we only have these memories. So our only job now is to remember the times worth remembering. The more I contemplate his life; my daddy had an amazing time here. He made an impact on the community like no other, an impact on the hearts and lives of so many people, and 4 holes in one to boot. We were blessed to know and love this man. How could we be any luckier?
James is survived by his wife of 50 years, Barbara; daughters Jennifer and Kim (Jeremy); granddaughter Evie; sister Jan (Robert); nephews Brad (Jen) and Brian; niece Molly (Tom); and numerous great nephews and cousins.
The Family extends its deepest gratitude to the staff members of Heart of Hospice, which cared for James during his last few months, and especially Yana Knight, that he really did love. He meant it when he said it.