Eric W. Harris
| Eric Wycoff Harris, Sr.|
(Businessman in Alexandria, Louisiana)
|Born|| January 8, 1916 |
Rapides Parish, Louisiana, USA
|Died|| October 24, 2007 (aged 91) |
|Spouse|| Nelwyn Rhodes Harris (married 1947-2007, his death)|
Eric Wyckoff Harris, Sr. (January 8, 1916 – October 24, 2007), was an Alexandria businessman and civic leader who in 1939 headed the committee which organized the first Louisiana chapter of the Jaycees, now called the United States Junior Chamber. A builder and real estate developer, he was co-owner of Hill Harris & Company from 1936 until 2005, when he and his brother, James C. Harris (1913–2009), closed the business, which had been founded by their father.
Harris was one of three sons of Homer H. Harris, Sr. (1890–1971), and the former Arletta Cato (1888–1987). He was born at Hard Times Plantation south of Alexandria. The family moved in 1921 to Alexandria, where he graduated from Bolton High School, attended Southern Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville for two years, and graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. During World War II, Harris volunteered in the United States Army Air Corps, the forerunner of the United States Air Force. He piloted B-29 bombers.
Harris was a member of the Alexandria-Pineville Chamber of Commerce and chaired its aviation committee. He also served for a decade on the Rapides Parish Aviation Authority, two years a president. Harris was a director of the Central Cities Development Corporation and a former president of the Rapides Parish Industrial Development Board. He was past president of the Alexandria Lions International and scored perfect attendance for sixty-three years. He was active in the Committee for a Better Alexandria and worked on the development of navigation projects on the Red River.
Harris was survived by his wife of sixty-six years, the former Nelwyn Rhodes (c. 1918-2018) of Alexandria; two daughters, Sandra Harris Kearney, and her husband, James Michael Kearney of Alexandria, and Conni Harris Smith of Lafayette, the widow of Hadley M. Smith (1940–1996); one son, Eric W. Harris, Jr. (born c. 1942) of Moncks Corner, South Carolina, and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by another brother, Homer Harris, Jr. (1910–1999). Harris died in Alexandria at the age of ninety-one. His services were held First United Methodist Church in Alexandria, where he served on the building committee. Interment was at Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville.
Harris' brother, James C. Harris, was also an LSU graduate and a United States Navy veteran of the Mediterranean, Middle East, African, and Pacific theaters of World War II, with service in the Philippines. James Harris, who retired from Hill-Harris at the age of ninety-two, was also active in the Alexandria community, having been former presidents of both the Kiwanis International and the Kent Plantation House, a restored 19th century structure near Bayou Rapides.
- Eric W. Harris obituary, Alexandria Town Talk, October 25, 2007.
- Newlyn Harris obituary (June 27, 2018). Retrieved on March 14, 2019.
- Obituary of James C. Harris, Alexandria Town Talk, February 27, 2009.