Jenny, 84 years of age, crossed the River Jordan into the Promised Land in the early morning hours of May 22, 2019. She was born on March 11, 1935, to the late Calvin Q. Harris, Sr. and Florence Carhee Harris, the latter a full blood member of the Chickasaw Tribe of Native Americans. She had six sisters and two brothers: Arbell Williams, Olga Cowdrey, Lessie Campbell, Mary Richardson, Iva Jones, Dreadnaught Harris, Seventeena Harris, and Calvin Harris, Jr., with only Iva Jones of San Angelo, TX surviving her.
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Jenny’s early years were spent on the family farm located 5 miles southeast of Mill Creek, Johnston County, Oklahoma. Her father raised grain and other crops, utilizing horse drawn implements and machinery. Her mother fed the several men who assisted her father with these yearly evolutions. Jenny attended Mill Creek public schools and graduated in 1953. She then attended Haskell Institute, now a university. Haskell is a BIA operated school exclusively for those of Native American blood. Returning home to care for an ill parent, she remained there until her marriage. She and Bob Ozment, a 1954 graduate at Mill Creek, were wed on October 20, 1954 at a Methodist Church in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Bob had previously enlisted in the U.S. Navy and shortly after their wedding reported for duty aboard a ship home ported in San Diego, California. Jenny soon joined him and they made their first home on Grape Street in San Diego. Lacking an automobile for their first three years together, they utilized the San Diego bus system and explored all corners of the area on weekends. They acquired their first car in 1957, utilizing their reenlistment bonus. It was a 1954 Ford, which then carried them on a multitude of trips home to Oklahoma to visit family. During their Navy career, they lived in San Diego, Poway, Camp Pendleton, Hayward and Westminister in California. Subsequent assignments took them to Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. Always true to their parental bonds, they visited their parents no less often than every two years until the parents were no longer living. The family resided in Oklahoma City during Bob’s assignment in Vietnam with the Marine Corps.
Jenny was an excellent mother. The children were at all times, well mannered and properly dressed. She participated in school activities such as PTA, band parent, etc., and during the early years worked outside the home in retail. Her mother-in-law once remarked to this writer, that “your children could never have found a better mother than Jenny.” True to her upbringing and personal convictions, she held membership in Methodist churches at each location they lived in. She was a charter member of Hope United Methodist Church in Rancho Bernardo, California and is credited with giving the new church its name. She currently held membership in John Wesley United Methodist Church in Victoria, Texas. She held office in each church she belonged to, along with working faithfully in Victoria District offices and with the Southwest Texas/Rio Texas Conferences. She participated in the Walk to Emmaus movement, along with Kairos Prison Ministry. Jenny attended the Ecumenical center in San Antonio, gaining many hours of instruction in Pastoral Studies. Jenny began each day with Bible reading, along with study of Christian literature by many different writers.
An excellent athlete, Jenny lettered in softball, basketball and tennis while in high school. While stationed at the Armed Forces Staff College, she participated in officer wives team softball. Once Bob took up golf, she often went with him to play local courses. Becoming interested in professional golf, she watched weekend PGA golf on television. Her favorite professional was Jordan Spieth. His winning The Masters quite early in his career was a high-point for Jenny.
Jenny is survived by her husband Bob of Victoria, son Kevin and his wife Shelly of Georgetown, Texas; daughter Kim Ozment-Gold and husband Scott Gold of Victoria; daughter Roberta Fisher and husband Charles Fisher of Victoria; daughter Karen Hernandez was herself a cancer victim in 2005. Grandchildren include Henry Hernandez, Jesse Fowler, Brian Plavidal, Justin Etheridge, Amanda Hollon, Brody Fisher, Ciara Ozment-Gold and Temi Plavidal. Great grandchildren are: Akira Evans, Keonte Hunt, Ka’myra Fleming, Evie Fowler, Gage Plavidal, Trent Fisher, Mason Fisher and Colton Etheridge.
Quite stoic, as are most Native Americans, Jenny handled the excruciating pain of pancreatic cancer without complaint, often foregoing prescribed pain management drugs. She withstood frequent trips to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, showing less fatigue than her companions. As her illness progressed, she demonstrated even greater resolve that she would defeat the disease, never wavering in her faith in God’s healing power.
We are thankful to Dr. Garouhi and staff for his management of Jenny’s treatment; and the M.D. Anderson staff for their suggestions of the latest treatment modalities. Words are not sufficient to express our gratitude to the Dornburg Center for Compassion staff for their heroic management of Jenny’s final days. This organization of professionals: physicians, nurses, aides, social workers and dietary employees are the best anywhere.
Final arrangements include a visitation at Grace Memorial Chapel on US 87 northwest of Victoria at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Funeral Service and Celebration of Life will be at John Wesley Methodist Church in Victoria, Texas at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, 2019. Burial will follow immediately at Mission Valley Community Cemetery on Arnold Road, just off FM 236. Those attending these events are encouraged to dress causal (no ties). Conducting the funeral will be Rev. Carl Westbrook, our pastor at John Wesley UMC.
Pallbearers will be grandsons Henry Hernandez, Justin Etheridge, Brian Plavidal and Brody Fisher, along with sons-in-law Scott Gold and Charles Fisher.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jenny’s memory to: Hospice of South Texas, or John Wesley United Methodist Church, mark gifts to the latter for “debt relief.” To leave a comforting message, or to share a fond memory, please visit www.gracefuneralhome.net.