September 5, 1927 – June 5, 2020
Mari Virginia Kersh Harris, loving mother, and grandmother, “Meme”, entered into the gates of heaven on June 5, 2020, at the age of 92 years and 8 months.
Virginia was born on September 5, 1927, in Cherokee County, Texas to James Harvey and Fannie Adeline Hampton Kersh. Virginia grew up on a farm helping her family grow crops and pick cotton. And there her love of the garden and flowers began! This love affair with gardening made a difference in the beauty of downtown Troup! She took it upon herself to water the planters lining Duval Street, especially in the heat of the summer! Serving others was always a priority, and she proved that in many different ways, in many different capacities. At her beloved First Methodist Church of Troup, she served as a Sunday School teacher/superintendent, MYF sponsor, and was a member of the Lydia Circle. Virginia loved her hometown of Troup and belonged to many organizations: Troup Chapter #421, Order of the Eastern Star, the Troup Women’s Garden Club, the Hilltop Country Club Auxiliary, Troup Women’s Civic Organization, Troup Genealogical/Historical Society, the Cameron J. Jarvis Friends of the Library, Troup Band Boosters, Troup Athletic Booster Club, and the Troup Elementary P.T.A. Virginia proudly served as a Cub Scout Den Mother and chairman for many of the Arbor Day celebrations on the different campuses of Troup School. When her son, Tony, began coaching girl’s basketball at Troup High School, she became known as “Mama Harris”. Not only was she a loyal and faithful supporter on the court, but Virginia also baked chocolate chip cookies for summer camps and regular-season games! No wonder the girls loved her! She continued that tradition when Tony began coaching girl’s basketball in Jacksonville. Her spirit of generosity to others was evident in the many donations that she made to her church, the library, the fire department, the veterans, cancer research and the Methodist Home to name a few. Virginia had many wonderful traits that endeared her to all who knew her. They included diligence, loyalty, fair-mindedness, determination, attention to detail, and a passion for doing the right thing! Some people referred to her as “a mover and a shaker”; others said that she was “a little firecracker”. Both are correct!
Virginia attended Troup School from the first grade until her graduation in 1944. Because of her love of music, Virginia played the clarinet in the Troup Band and served as Drum Major and Majorette. She had a successful acting career as she played the lead role in “Sunbonnet Jane of Sycamore Lane”, a play directed by Mrs. Mary White. Virginia was voted Most Beautiful and Cutest and had to put up with the boys calling her nicknames like Flea, Tiny, Shrimp, and Dimples. All of which she disliked greatly! After graduation, Virginia furthered her education by attending Tyler Commercial College and later, Tyler Junior College. It was during this time that she and several of her girlfriends would sing patriotic songs to entertain the troops at Camp Fannin in Tyler during World War II. Virginia wore many different career hats. She was a secretary, receptionist, bookkeeper, manager, and real estate agent. Virginia’s attention to detail and diligence served her well in the workplace.
Virginia married Grady Harris, the love of her life, on April 20, 1946. Grady and Virginia started dating in high school when he was a Senior, and she was a Freshman. Virginia thought that Grady was good-looking and a “heartthrob”, and his sense of humor didn’t hurt either! Plus, Grady was a wonderful dancer! Guess you could say he just swept her off her feet! They were quite the charismatic couple. After Grady retired from the Post Office, they went into the real estate business together. This gave them the opportunity to spend quality time with one another. Virginia was a loving, devoted wife to Grady for 33 years until cancer took his life. God blessed them with two children, a daughter, Jan, and a son, Tony. Virginia and Grady were devoted parents and always involved in their children’s activities and interests.
Virginia is predeceased by her beloved husband, Grady Harris; her parents, James Harvey and Fannie Adeline Hampton Kersh; her brother, Virgil Kersh and his wife Barbara; and a nephew, Randy Kersh.
Virginia is survived by a daughter, Jan Singletary and husband Jimmy of Troup; a son, Tony Harris and wife Lisa of Jacksonville; a granddaughter Jennifer Singletary Jennings and husband Russell of Dallas; a grandson, Jon Singletary and wife Leslie of Bella Vista, AR; a grandson, Mason Harris; two great-granddaughters, Finley Jennings and Avery Singletary; a great-grandson, Nash Jennings; a nephew Fred Kersh and wife Linda of Tyler; a niece, Rose Kersh of Chandler and several great-nieces and nephews and great, great-nieces and nephews.
Virginia loved the Lord and taught her children to do the same. She was a constant example of beauty, strength, style, generosity, and grace. It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye for now until we see you again someday in heaven. “Well done good and faithful servant: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”
Visitation will be Monday, June 8th, 9:00-4:00 at Cottle Funeral Home, 105 East Bradford St., Troup, TX 75789. Graveside services will be held Tuesday, June 9th 10:00 at Bradford Cemetery, 210 West Melton St., Troup, TX 75789.
Special thanks to the Prestige Estates Family (Assisted Living and Memory Care) and Legacy/Choice Hospice for their loving and compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the First United Methodist Church of Troup, TX, the Cameron J. Jarvis Library, Troup, TX, or Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County.
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