Earl R. Harris


Earl Roland Harris, 82, entered eternal life on October 25, 2001.

Born in Celeste, TX to Earl R. Harris and Lula L. Harris, he lived in various locations in Texas and New Mexico in his younger years.

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 area.

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 be held.