John Henry Harris Jr of Spring Arbor, Michigan, age 92, was called home by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to his heavenly home on June 14, 2021. John is survived by his four children, Diane (Daniel) Kurtz, Robert (Michelle) Harris, Ronald (Patricia) Harris, and Douglas (Sara) Harris, numerous and much-loved grandchildren, and great grandchildren, one sister, Theda Mae Davidson, and many nieces, nephews, extended family members, and friends. John’s dearly loved spouse, Margaret, and his parents, John and M. Pearl Harris pre-deceased him.
John was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Northwestern High School and studied at Wayne State University. He enjoyed being in the WSU marching band playing cornet, but his university career was interrupted when he was drafted by the U.S. Army. He married the love of his life, Margaret Hyndman, on June 16, 1951, while on a weekend pass. Soon, he was sent to Germany to serve in the U.S. occupation forces on the Czech/German border where he experienced some tense standoffs with the Russian Army. Upon his honorable discharge and return to the USA, John and Margaret began building their family of four children and established a happy home together in Spring Arbor, Michigan.
John and Margaret faithfully served in many roles at the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church. John taught young adult and teen Sunday School classes, and with Margaret led the youth ministry at the church in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. John had a wonderful baritone voice and enjoyed singing in a quartet with some of his best friends. Later, John served as a “Stephen Minister” calling on the elderly, sick and shut-ins for several years.
John worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance in his early career, and then joined the development team at Spring Arbor University, writing grants and raising funds to build Lowell Hall and the Field House. Later, he began working at the Jackson, Michigan Toy House in its hobby division as its buyer and manager. John was a creative artist and craftsman who built a model railroad layout over many years in the basement of the family home. In his job at the Toy House, he combined his hobby and his career, built railroad layouts for the Toy House, and enjoyed meeting the public and helping others with their hobby needs. John worked at the Toy House for more than 30 years, retiring in 2006, but returning part time whenever the Toy House needed him until he was in his 80s.
John was a member of Jackson Model Railroading Club for many years and treasured the friendships he had with the men in this group. John was also an avid photographer throughout his life, chronicling family history and trips he and Margaret enjoyed together. John blessed the Spring Arbor community with his photography skills, taking pictures for the township, Spring Arbor Church, Spring Arbor University, and anyone who asked him to document an event. He learned photoshop and continued taking photoshop lessons well into his 80’s so he could enhance his pictures. He spent hours editing photos and giving them away to those who had engaged him in documenting events. John also enjoyed flower gardening and built a lovely yard of roses, hydrangeas, and other blooms at his home for all to enjoy.
John and Margaret enjoyed traveling and took every opportunity they could to see the world beyond their home. They enjoyed taking their family out west and up north camping. They took several trips to Europe and Canada tracing their ancestral roots. They enjoyed taking trips with their best friends, Ken and Carolyn Garnett and Nina and Rep Reppert. As Margaret’s health failed, John became her loving caregiver for many years. When he could no longer give her the care she needed, they moved together into Arbor North Assisted Living. The family is very grateful to Bobby, Reid, Kevin, and Leigh Ganton and all the staff at Arbor North for the care John and Margaret received. We are also grateful to Henry Ford Allegiance Campus Care and Hospice staffs and particularly nurse Michael who took such great care of John.
A celebration of John’s life will be held at the Arbor Church (Spring Arbor Free Methodist), Spring Arbor, Michigan, on Saturday, September 11 with visitation at noon and a memorial service at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, John would prefer donations be made to Henry Ford Allegiance Hospice of Jackson, MI, Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church missions, or to Spring Arbor University.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Henry Harris, Jr., please visit our floral store.
Henry Ford Allegiance Hospice
One Jackson Square; 4th Floor, Jackson MI 49201
Spring Arbor University
106 E. Main Street, Spring Arbor MI 49283
The Arbor Church - Missions
120 E. Main Street, Spring Arbor MI 49283