Ocie James Harris was born on April 28, 1937 to Earley and Celler Stine Harris in Blytheville, Arkansas. He was one of twelve children born, into the union of holy matrimony of Earley and Celler Stine Harris. Ocie was an Army veteran who served for three (3) years and was honorably discharged. He then pursued a college degree and graduated, after which, he was employed at Durkee for several years and also worked at Stateville Correctional Center. Ocie accepted Jesus as his LORD and Savior many years ago. Under the leadership of Pastor Mae Jewel Ellis of Refuge Mission church, he served as usher and participated in various programs within the church.
During his life journey, he met, fell in love and married then Ms. Ophelia Ferguson. In this union, twin girls were born: Ericka and Eurika. He also inherited and raised from the ages of five and seven years old, two sons named Cornelius and Vincent Lee. After several long years of marriage, it was unfortunately dissolved, however, Ophelia and Ocie remained close and the bond with his sons continued to remain strong. Later on in the years, he met his second wife, Ms. Charlie Mae French and she brought into this union a son named Vincent. This marriage was short-lived and did not produce any children.
If you truly knew Ocie, you were aware that he loved to take pictures of family and friends. He considered himself an “official photographer” for all events whether he was asked or not (normally he was asked). He also loved sending out greeting cards for any occasion or “just because.” He loved encouraging individuals by letting them know how much he/she was appreciated. He was an avid reader who loved solving puzzles, especially word search puzzles with hidden clues inside. One of his passions was cooking pizzas for family and friends. Another specialty of his was baking Strawberry Shortcakes made in the shape of a heart. Yes, Ocie was a very generous man who loved his family, friends and especially children who were always near and dear to his heart. Whatever you needed, if he had it, he would give it to you.
Ocie was preceded in death by his parents, his twin daughters who were stillborn and the following siblings: (brothers) Clarence, Sr., Arthur “Jr.”, Leonard and Emmett; (sisters) Pecola, Dorothy, Jessie, Rosalee, Verlean and Delores. He leaves to cherish in loving memory his surviving sister, Dillie (J.B.) Rodgers, his beloved “step”-sons Cornelius (Eileen) and Vincent (Angelia) Lee, four nieces and two nephews who were also his caretakers: I-Sha a.k.a. “Emma” Holman, Mae Frances & Henry (his personal barber) Adams, Leatha (R. T.) Smith, Beverly Campbell and James a.k.a. “Smitty” Smith III. He also leaves behind seventeen grandchildren and twenty great-grandchildren along with many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Homegoing services will be held at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, 104 E. Zarley Blvd., Joliet, IL 60433 under the leadership of Pastor Herbert Brooks, Jr. Visitation will take place from 10am -11am and the funeral will begin promptly at 11am – 12pm. Interment will take place at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only ten (10) visitors are allowed.
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