October 30, 1933-January 28, 2021
Jennie Ellin Harris (né Hall) was born to Leroy Porter Hall and Elena "Nelly" Walker Brede in Albany, California.
When it rains, we are always reminded of our mom. The cold, wet outside, her warm, cozy inside. Grilled cheese and tomato soup, all home-made. The kitchen with warm smells, her soft smiles. This memory is a forever memory. The fondest memories are always in the kitchen, cooking, nourishing, a softness to her, like it was a greatest love.
One time, while visiting her daughter and son-in-law and their young children, Jennie set up a tea party for her grand-daughter Samantha. She made scones, in the shape of ice cream cones, and finger sandwiches for all of Samantha's friends. Everyone was in their Sunday best. Samantha's brother Joseph played waiter and butler with joy. A memory still in their hearts.
Mom was the one that always showed up. No matter what. If one of her kids were moving, she was there. If a loved one was in the hospital, whether bearing a child or having a cancerous tumor removed, she was there. She sat, knitted, waited. Time didn't matter. She showed up.
Not only a mother to her adult children and grandchildren, she was their friend. Her grand-daughter Mykayla said her grandmama was like her best friend. Through the years, Jennie and her children played tennis, rode horses, talked, cooked, sewed, ate, got mad, made up. She loved unconditionally, as mothers most often do.
Porter, a grandson, said she was mischievous. Her friends say she was funny. Jennie was adventurous. A free-spirit. Grand-daughters Marisa, Ferrara, and Valerie say she was kind and loving, that she could make anyone feel like her best friend because she actually cared to get to know who that person was. She made friends wherever she went.
After graduating from Whittier College with a degree in Home Economics in 1955 and marrying Whittier's star football player, she raised five kids, and with all of her love and care, ended up with 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Teaching home economics at Kranz Jr High and El Rancho High School was a passion that was fulfilling until retirement in 2006.
She loved to travel, listen to classical music, loved her Jack Russell Terriers, Molly and Corkey, and most importantly loved her family. She shared a close bond with her friends from Orange High School (1951) and Whitter College (1955), especially fellow Athenians Dee Lawrence and Margie Hack, as well as her cousins, nieces and nephews, and brother-in-law Boone, plus, every Saturday night you would catch her watching Noir Alley with family friend Ron Northcutt.
She is survived by her five children, Willard Porter Harris (wife Sheila), Mary Lynne Behrens (Yuuta Behrens) , Carole Anne Harris (partner Kauhi Ho'okano), James Michael Harris (wife Tamera), Lisabeth Ellin Marziello (husband Joseph Robert), 11 grandchildren and their spouses/partners, and 12 great-grandchildren.
It is going be hard to not pick up the phone to call her, or to wish we were sitting in her kitchen with her, looking into her bright eyes and feeling her warm generous heart. We do know, she lived a good life.
Published in Gazette Newspapers from Feb. 11 to Feb. 19, 2021.