Earl Roland Harris, 82, entered eternal life on October 25,
Born in Celeste, TX to Earl R. Harris and Lula L. Harris, he
lived in various locations in Texas and New Mexico in his
Earl graduated from Albuquerque High School in 1936, then moved
to Taos, NM, where he worked with his mother and stepfather at
the family’s bakery.
Earl joined the National Guard on April 3, 1940 and went into
active duty on January 6, 1941. He was assigned to the 200th
Coast Artillery Corps, and was sent to Bataan, in the Philippine
Islands, in September 1941. The Japanese bombed Bataan on
December 7, 1941, just hours after the Pearl Harbor attack. The
200th Coast Artillery Corps was surrendered to the Japanese on
April 9, 1942. Earl and the other survivors were forced to march
to prison camps in what is now known as the “Bataan Death
March.” After 3 1/ 2 years in four different Japanese prison
camps, Earl was liberated and was honorably discharged from the
Army. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and
numerous other medals on July 2, 1946.
Upon his return to the United States, Earl moved to Lamar, CO,
where he and his father built the Motor Way hotel.
In 1948, Earl married Tommie Colleen Leach from Clovis, NM. They
had two sons in Colorado, Dale and David. In 1953, the family
moved to the Albuquerque North valley and started Harris Poultry
Farm. The next two children, Diane and Dean were born there. The
family moved to Anthony, NM in 1971, where Earl started Rio
Farms Incorporated, as well as run the family farm. In 1998
after retiring, Earl and Tommie moved back to the Albuquerque
Earl was preceded in death by his father, Earl R. Harris; his
mother, Lula L. Cox, and stepfather, Clyde W. Cox.
Earl is survived by his wife, Tommie; children, Dale Harris and
Rae Hamilton of Durango, CO, David and Mary Harris of Las
Cruces, NM, Diane and Tom Di Rito of Denver, CO, and Dean and
Cheryl Harris of Albuquerque, NM; four grandchildren, Tammy
Harris, Christopher Di Rito, Lisa Di Rito, & Laura Di Rito; also
his step-mother Opal Harris of Lubbock, TX.
Memorial Services will be at Strong-Thorne Mortuary, at 11:00
a.m., Monday, October 29, 2001. Earl will be buried at the
National Cemetery in Santa Fe, NM. Private burial services will