Betty Jane Harris, 84

Published 11:25 am Friday, February 17, 2012

Betty Jane Harris, 84, formerly of Austin, Minn., born Aug. 25, 1926, in Mason City, Iowa, passed away from cancer on Friday, May 6, 2011, at her home in Youngtown, Ariz.

Betty Harris

Betty Jane Harris was born to Benjamin Leroy Cogill and his wife Christina (Fjeldstadt). She was the fourth of six children. Her brothers and sisters were John Edward, Carmen Della, Lilly Juanita, Albert Leroy and Delores Ruth. Betty grew up in Mason City’s Midland Heights area with her family on 24th Street SW, where she enjoyed swimming, tap dancing and piano lessons. She graduated from Mason City High School in the spring of 1945 and worked at Como Photo. Betty’s father’s name, Cogill (formerly Cowgill) is traced back to the pre-Revolutionary days of America. Betty’s mother’s parents (Fjeldstadt) immigrated from Norway around 1885. Of her parents and siblings, Betty is survived by her sister, Carmen D. Soule of San Francisco, Calif.

Betty married Lawrence Earl Harris, son of William Earl Harris, and his second wife, Martha (Johnson), on Sept. 8, 1946, at Riverside Park in Independence, Kansas. Larry, also of Mason City, worked for the Milwaukee Railroad. Betty and Larry have three children, Barbara Jean (Harris) Poindexter, Linda Sue Harris, and William Earl Harris. Betty and Larry moved to Austin in 1954 when the Milwaukee Railroad needed Larry to transfer. In Austin, Betty sold Avon products part time as an “Avon Lady.” In 1969, they moved to Aberdeen, S.D., when the Milwaukee Railroad closed operations in Austin. In Aberdeen, Betty worked at the Twist Cone on Fifth Avenue NW. In 1973, Betty and Larry became empty-nesters, with retirement from the railroad shortly thereafter. Betty enjoyed more than 25 years of retirement with Larry, in their RV, traveling, bowling, fishing, crafting, playing cards, piano and keyboard. In 2008, Betty and Larry gave up the RV life and settled in the Phoenix, Ariz., area.

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Betty is survived by her husband, Lawrence of Youngtown; three children, Barbara Poindexter of Carrollton, Ga., Linda Harris of Carrollton, Bill Harris (Debra Ann) of Glendale, Ariz.; three grandchildren, Davin Leslie Auble of Chicago, William Earl Harris Jr. (Nicole Marie) of Marietta, Ga., and Christina Kay Harris of Buckeye, Ariz.; step-great-grandchild, Naomi Marie Dean; two great-grandchildren, Dylan Nicole Harris and William Easton Harris, all three of Marietta, Ga.; sister, Carmen D. Soule of San Francisco; several nieces and nephews.

It was Betty’s desire to have no memorial service, and her wish was to be cremated.