Leo Burrell Harris

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Leo Burrell Harris

February 26, 1928 - August 06, 2018

Leo Burrell Harris, known as Burrell, was born on Feb. 26, 1928, to his very proud parents, John Thomas and Dean Harris. Burrell had treasured a handwritten letter from that day in which his mother stated, "We wildly adore him!" as she announced his birth to the family. Everyone in his path continued to adore him for 90 years. He passed away Aug. 6, 2018.
Burrell grew up an only child in Crossville, where he and his parents were original Homesteaders. He was deeply rooted in his Homestead culture including being a "Bulldog" basketball player and a lifelong member of the Homestead Baptist Church. He was a Cumberland County High School Class of 1946 Jet, and then graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1951 with a BS degree in Business Administration. He believed firmly in the power of having an education and continued to display this passion throughout his lifetime. One of his favorite honors was serving on Tennessee's State Board of Education for nine years.
He enjoyed working as an Insurance Agent at Brown Insurance for 51 years. He was also the director of First National Bank (now Regions) being the Board of Director member of the Executive Committee and chairman of the Loan Committee. He served the Tennessee Board of Corrections Institute from 1976-1981, was a pilot for Civil Air Patrol, and chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee. Burrell was chairman of the Cumberland County Election Commission for 16 years, a member of the Breakfast Rotary Club, and a 32nd Degree Mason. He put his heart into every commitment and made certain that every person was treated with kindness and respect above and beyond business.
Burrell Harris served on many other boards, committees and organizations. It was extremely rare for him to be seen without a tie, and even more so without a smile. He was a man of integrity, dedicated to serving others, an advocate for education, and always "best-dressed." Burrell met his "sweet wife" Evelyn in 1954 spending 54 years of happiness and true joy. Most of all Burrell was an incredible friend and the greatest husband, father and papa!
Burrell Harris is survived by his only daughter, Lisa Phillips; devoted son-in-law, Jerry Phillips; granddaughter, Breanna VanWinkle (Daniel); three spirited grandsons; Charlie VanWinkle, Max VanWinkle and Finn VanWinkle; and niece, Laura Jane Brookhart. Ruth Poteet is Burrell's cousin but also best friend.
In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn Harris.
In lieu of flowers, and at Burrell's request, donations can be made to Cumberland County Schools' "Shoe Fund," 368 4th Street, Crossville, TN 38555 to provide shoes and clothing to children in need.
Bilbrey Funeral Home, Inc. (www.bilbreyfh.com) was in charge of the arrangements.
Published on August 9, 2018
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