The Bar News

David M. Harris 1943-2018

David M. Harris, 74 years of age, passed into eternal life the morning of February 5th, at 7:20 a.m. David was born November 15th, 1943 in Washington D.C., the second son of Dr. Marshall D. Harris and mother Mary Katherine (nee Franklin). He grew up in Arlington, Virginia. His family moved to Iowa City, Iowa when he was age 11. He graduated from University High School, State University of Iowa (now called the University of Iowa.) He attended Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.

His first employment from college was as a probation and parole agent in Madison, Wisconsin for two years. His responsibilities included supervising approximately 44 men on probation or parole. They were drunks to murderers. Mr. Harris quipped that he preferred the murderers because they had solved their problem. He was also responsible for pre-sentence investigations/sentencing recommendations and visiting those people, in addition to the 44 who were in prison.

Mr. Harris then attended the University of Iowa Law School and graduated with Distinction and was admitted to the Iowa Bar in 1971. He then completed a Master's Degree in Urban and Regional Planning in July, 1972. 

From July, 1972 until January, 1973, he was employed by the City of Columbus, Ohio, as a land marketing agent in the Department of Urban Renewal where he prepared urban renewal land for sale to developers, assisted in developing urban renewal plans and reporting. He also assisted in revising the City Housing Code. 
Mr. Harris was employed for four years by the Illinois Department of Transportation, Bureau of Planning, Section Chief of the Policy and Master Plan Development Section. He helped organize a state transportation planning staff and was responsible for the first draft state transportation plan. 

He then went to work for Tri-Met in Portland, Oregon, where he worked at the public transit agency, initially as a transportation planner and held other positions of regional planning coordination, planning grant development and coordination with local, regional, state and federal agencies, development of purchasing process and procedures, development and initial implementation of the first Minority Business Enterprises Program plus various other special projects. 

After working two years as a transportation consultant, He returned to Illinois to begin a private practice of law in Collinsville, Illinois, and headed his own practice for 3l years. It included family law, adoptions, child custody, child support, divorces, criminal litigation, construction litigation, business purchasing, business planning and estate planning. Ill health eventually forced him to close his law office completely the first half of 2010. He did a generous amount of pro-bono work and was always helpful to people who were in need. He had a heart for people. He has done extensive research and writing. 

As a hobby, he grew beautiful roses in the backyard and delighted in bringing in a cut rose when it reached its peak of perfection. He was a voracious reader, especially history. He could give a discourse on Roman History, Civil War, WWII, and religious history. He could have been a teacher. He was a seeker of truth, always with a book in his hand.

He was involved with the Jaycee's, Lions' Club, Madison County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association and helped establish the Piasa Health Care which provides services for alcoholics and drug-dependent persons.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Marshall Dees and Mary Katherine (nee Franklin) Harris and beloved brother John Wilton. He leaves behind to cherish his memory his loving companion of 11 years, Ms. Lois Schoen of Collinsville, IL., Susan (Hope) Harris of Springfield, IL, beloved son, Scott Henry and Barbara Harris of Tempe, AZ, granddaughter, Berkley Hope Harris, now in Senegal, Africa, doing charitable work under the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program, Susan Katherine Harris, stepdaughter Julie Rentz of Salem, Oregon and stepson Brian Rentz of Granite City, and many friends.

Many thanks to Pastor Jeff Young of the First United Presbyterian Church of Collinsville and David's Sunday School friends who surrounded him with their loving friendship and support. Thanks also to the staff of Eden Village Nursing facility in Glen Carbon, Illinois, where he stayed a brief time.

Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Collinsville for their many deserving charitable projects, the ACLU, or the Granite City APA of Granite City, IL. because David cherished his three dogs. 

Posted on February 27, 2018 by Sara Anderson

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