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 Gertrude <I>Harrell</I> Harris

Gertrude Harrell Harris

Death 6 Feb 2011 (aged 99)
Burial Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Plot section 41, grave #44 next to 'the family'
Memorial ID 66849059 · View Source
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[written by her daughter]
Gertrude Harris was born into the union of Robert Thomas Harrell and Elizabeth Nelson Harrell on August 06, 1911 in Greenville, Ky. She was the youngest of four siblings. She did not know her mother who died when she was one year old. Gertrude always spoke fondly of her father who worked very hard in the coal mines of Kentucky to support her and her siblings. She however was raised by a loving "Uncle John and Aunt Harriett" as she so fondly remembered them. Her greatest tribute to this couple is the wonderful memories and the detailed colorful stories that she would tell of them. Along with her long life God blessed her with a detail memory and the art of storytelling. No one could remember and retell a story like, our mom. She honored everyone in her stories and created a living memorial to each of them by retelling them vividly.

Gertrude came to Detroit, MI in 1929 at 18 years of age. She lived with her two sisters, Lydia and Zida and niece, Elizabeth on Brush and Owens. At various times she held many jobs (waitress, insurance agent, factory worker) as she grew into an independent young woman. In 1943 she was united in marriage to Amos Harris (deceased). Prior to starting her family she was a motherly caretaker to her step son, Amos Harris, Jr. who would visit and live with them at various times. After six years to this union two children were born, Adolphus and Deborah Harris. Eventually Gertrude was left alone to raise her two children and she provided a strong spiritual, emotional and financially sound home for them. Often working two jobs she still had the fortitude to remain engaged in their lives and never stopped being their mother and godly example. Gertrude loved the Lord Jesus and her church. She joined Ebenezer A.M.E Church at an early age and remained a proud member for more than sixty years. Gertrude was a founding member of the Royal Circle Club and devoted attendee along with her sister, Zida, in Sunday school. She formed strong bonds and friendships here at Ebenezer and it remained an important part in our lives and upbringing.

Gertrude understood the importance of education since the colored school she attended in Kentucky provided education only to the 11th grade. So she completed her high school diploma in night classes at Central High School and Cass Tech in 1966. Gertrude gain certifications as a Duplicating Machine Operator in 1966 from Manpower, Home Management in 1972 and as a Social Worker Technician in 1975 in which she remained certified until her retirement. This afforded her the opportunity to gain employment with The City of Detroit as a Home Care Provider. She retired from employment at age 65 only to continue to devote her life to her children and grandchildren.

Gertrude loved her children and family. Mom often stated that "Love is as Love Does". She lived by this by taking in and helping neighbors and friends. She was able to speak the truth in love and was a friend to old and young alike. Gertrude was a great grandmother, enjoying each one of her grandchildren to the fullest. She taught me that you can pay someone to watch your child but not love them and she did both admirably. She cared for them in their childhood and adulthood with loving kindness. Mom loved traveling and parties and she was blessed to have done much of each. She lived long enough to vote for the first black president and wore her Obama tee shirt proudly. She loved life and living but her body could no longer support or contain the sprit within. …Our earthly bodies, the one we have now that can die, must be transformed into heavenly bodies that cannot perish but will live forever. When this happens, then at last his Scripture will come true. Death is swallowed up in victory. I Corinthians 15: 53-54.

Gertrude left to rejoice in her memory her son, Adolphus Harris; daughter, Deborah J. Edison (Earl Sr.); stepson, Amos Harris Jr. (Fresno, CA); grandchildren, Carla Thompson (Andre); Earl Louis Edison, Jr., Erick H. Edison; loving and devotee niece, Elizabeth Cannon (Detroit); nephew Billie Watson (Bert) –Indiana; Jean McGurie (Humphrey) Kentucky; Cousins Helen Young (Edward)-Indiana; other extended family and friends, Thomas Marcum, Genora Edison, Patricia Ligon and Bronson.

Her son, pictured here, passed about 3 weeks later.

Family Members





  • Created by: wogmin
  • Added: 13 Mar 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 66849059
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gertrude Harrell Harris (6 Aug 1911–6 Feb 2011), Find A Grave Memorial no. 66849059, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by wogmin (contributor 47127019) .