Michael Franklin Harris - the first born child of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wesley Harris, Sr.- entered this world on November 13, 1944 in Canton, Ohio. He had three sons. Kevin Maurice Harris and David Vincent Harris were born of his first marriage to Vanessa Lee Harris. Jelani Kito Perry was his son by virtue of his final marriage to Thelma Hite Harris. Michael was a man of his times and raised all three of his sons with a love that was as committed as it was tough.
Michael grew up in Canton, Ohio and in Romulus, Michigan with his beloved younger siblings, Audrey Mae Patterson and Thomas Wesley Harris, Jr. While remaining close with his father and step-father Gerald Vaughn, his most present and influential parent was his mother, Anna Mae Womack. It was his mother who taught him by both her words and her deeds that he must be willing to explore the world boldly in order to find and fulfil his purpose. And that he did. After struggling through his Freshman year as a 16 year old basketball player at Tennessee State University, Michael earned his Bachelor’s Degree In Business Administration ten years later from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio in 1971.
Shortly after graduation, Michael was selected by Procter & Gamble as one of the top 20 black students in America to participate in a management training program at the University of Cincinnati. This is where he met Thelma Hite who became his best friend and who would become his wife 18 years later on May 7, 1988. Michael had a distinguished career in sales, being named Salesman of the Year for two different Fortune 500 companies in two different decades. But that accomplishment is a distant second to his greatest achievement of all- a 31 year marriage to Thelma. Together, Michael and Thelma established beautiful homes in both Atlanta and suburban Washington DC, and they sent two sons out into the world fully prepared to meet it independently and on their own terms.
Michael and Thelma travelled together, they played together, they prayed together and they stayed together through all the joy and pain that life brought their way. By any measure, their marriage was a rousing success. On February 5, 2020, Michael transitioned from this life with his eyes fixed on Thelma and a slight smile on his face. He passed on knowing that he had enjoyed a life and a love that was truly extraordinary.
Michael is predeceased by his brother Thomas Wesley Harris, Jr. and his sons Kevin Maurice Harris and Jelani Kito Perry. He is survived by his loving wife Thelma, his son David, his mother Anna, his sister and brother in-law Audrey and Orlando Patterson, his five grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society in memory of Michael Franklin Harris:
On line, http://www.cancer.org/ - look for red donation button
By phone: 800-227-2345
By mail: American Cancer Society, PO Box 42040, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73123
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