William Edison Harris
10/27/1928 - 01/23/2020
On Thursday, January 23, 2020, William Edison Harris, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 91, at the Solstice Senior Living Center in Sandy, Utah.
William was born on October 22, 1928, in Cody, Wyoming, in Buffalo Bill’s home, to Margaret Poppleton and William M. Harris.
William will be remembered fondly by family and friends as a passionate, endearing, positive, unconditionally loving, charitable, always forgiving, generous, hard-working, honest, adventurous, brave, and determined man. Many who knew him said he was a man without guile. His motto in life was, “The Joy of Discovery.” He was passionate about learning everything he could, especially the gospel of Jesus Christ, and sharing his knowledge with everyone he met. He experienced the usual disappointments in life, but was unusually resilient, ending many conversations with, “Onward and upward!”
William served in the Navy from 1946-1949 and was honorably discharged. He married his sweetheart, Minnie, on June 23, 1951. They lovingly raised their 5 children in their home at 1235 Mission Road in Salt Lake City. This was their home for 68 years. After he received his master’s degree in science education, William spent his working life as a schoolteacher, teaching math and sciences at the Junior High, High School, and College levels. He also taught an English course at a Chinese university one summer with his sister, Maurine.
William served in many positions in the LDS Church, including two times as a Bishop, Stake Sunday School President, Stake Mission President, Counselor in several bishoprics, High Priest Group Leader, and Gospel Doctrine Teacher. He also served as Chaplain for the Salt Lake Police Department and taught Bible class at the Utah State Prison. After retirement, William served a full- time mission with his wife, Minnie, in Nova Scotia, Canada, from 1993-1994. One of his greatest passions, which he did for years, was creating beautiful church meeting programs each week, designing and printing them himself on his own color printer.
William loved to play chess and took charge of the chess club in high school. Later, he played chess online against players from all over the world, and he often had multiple games going on at one time. He also loved playing online chess games with his grandsons, Michael and Jacob Harris, and teaching chess strategies to his grandson, Isi. William also loved to play the piano, and though he was he was a self-taught pianist, he could beautifully play classical pieces, which he often did late into the night.
Over the years, William wrote and published six books. His books always embellished what could be commonly read in the scriptures or elsewhere, but they never digressed from gospel truths. He loved to expound on truths and delve deeper into their meanings.
William’s last year was spent at Solstice Senior Living where he taught a Home Evening class each week and where he played piano for church. He also had a love for poetry and started a poetry sharing hour at Solstice during the last year of his life.
William is survived by four sons and one daughter: John (Susan) Grobben, Bill (Joan), Nancy (Bill) Holt, David (Lisa), and Jonathan; two sisters, Maurine and Kay (Loren) Davis; 16 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, William and Margaret Harris, his wife, Minnie (2003), and two grandchildren, Jason and Shelley Grobben.
Funeral services will be held at the LDS Stake Center located at 275 East, 10600 South, Sandy, Utah, on Saturday, February 1st, 2020, at 11 am. A viewing will be held prior to the service from 9:30-10:45 a.m. Burial will be at the Memorial Mountain View Cemetery, 3115 East, Bengal Blvd., Cottonwood Heights, Utah.