Aileen Lewis Harris was born on December 11, 1927, in McDonough, Henry County, Georgia. Her parents were Annie Marjorie Lewis Hoard and William Drayton Hoard. She was educated in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania school system after her family moved there in the late 1920s. She graduated from Schenley High School in 1943 at the age of 16 and matriculated at Fort Valley State (College) University majoring in Interior Design and Home Economics.
At Fort Valley State University, she was in the choir and Thespian Club, and met the love of her life, Rochelle Wendell Harris. They married and had five beautiful daughters. Upon arriving in Albany, they joined St. John’s Episcopal Church, and she continued to be a member of The Episcopal Church of Saint John and Saint Mark when the churches merged.
In Albany, Georgia, not only did she have a successful career for 40 plus years at Albany State (College) University, she also continued to change the lives of those who were fortunate to know her. At Albany State University, her official duties spanned over all auxiliary services, including residential facilities for students and faculty. She was also deemed the “unofficial campus historian”. This was due to her meticulous nature and because of the stories she told about the school, which people loved to listen to. She positively impacted students, faculty and staff members, and any other person that she encountered.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. has been a part of her life for over 75 years. This started when she pledged at Alpha Beta Chapter at Fort Valley State University in the Fall of 1945. When she moved to Albany, Georgia she joined Delta Eta Omega Chapter and helped bring another chapter to Albany. She helped to charter Gamma Sigma the undergraduate chapter at Albany State University in 1949, and served as their first graduate advisor for over 20 plus years. Under her helpful guidance, she welcomed in and mentored many members of the sorority. She and other members of Delta Eta Omega Chapter helped to pave the way for more young women who wished to make this commitment, including her daughters and granddaughters. As a dedicated member of the South Atlantic Region, even other family members who did not go to Albany State University, including another granddaughter and nieces, were inspired to join because of her loyalty, dedication to service, and commitment to serving all mankind. She was also a member of the Albany Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated for twenty years.
She loved ASU football, and attended Homecoming games for 50 plus consecutive years until she was unable to continue. Aileen was known far and wide for her outstanding sewing and cooking. No one was a stranger at her table and she graciously served meals to family, friends, students, and guests. She was also one of the charter members of a social club, LaFeliz, in 1954. For this group of friends, the social club was to entertain each other, and have fun. The club even had its own bylaws. Through it all, it was an opportunity for them to enjoy each other’s company. The only thing that kept them from their monthly meetings was last year’s pandemic.
She leaves to cherish her memory her loving daughters; Deborah Ann Harris Johnson (Walter), Stephanie Rowena Harris-Jolly (Michael), Alison Auriette Harris Alexander (Pierre), Melvese Michele Harris, and Kimberly Heather Harris-Adams (Randall); twelve adoring grandchildren; Walter Johnson, II, Mamye Johnson Broadnax (Victor), Johnathan Johnson (Tara), Brianna Jolly Mott (Benjamin), Corey Jolly, Andrea Alexander Gordon (Peter), Adam Alexander (Nicole), Auriette Alexander, Arianna Alexander, Marjorie Adams, Adena Adams, and Marilyn Adams; nine adorable great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; her brother-in-law Prezell Robinson, a host of beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, extended and special family friends.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Aileen Harris, please visit our floral store.