Archived Story

Tribute to Edwardsburg artists

Published 9:14pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Edwardsburg Museum opened Wednesday with a “Tribute to the Artists of Edwardsburg.”
Bette Larson Harris died as a result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident on Aug. 22, 2009. At her request, a donation was made to the Edwardsburg Museum in honor of her husband, Charles “Chuck” Harris, and his brothers, Richard, Willard and Douglas. The tribute to her husband includes his family and the other artists of Edwardsburg.
Bette Larson Harris was a graduate of Edwardsburg High School Class of 1950.
Her career as a real estate broker blended her passions for people, houses, architecture and Fort Wayne. She was a strong supporter of the arts in her community with active participation at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the Fort Wayne Art League.
She married her Edwardsburg High School sweetheart, Chuck Harris, in 1953.
Bette was fond of the Edwardsburg Museum and visited it whenever she could. This art showcase is a fitting tribute to her husband and his artist family as well as the “Artists of Edwardsburg, Past, Present and Future.”
Bette’s husband, Charles Harris, started as an automobile designer for the Chrysler Corp. and later became a designer for International Harvester. He painted aircraft and combat scenes for relaxation. He graduated from Edwardsburg High School in 1948 and after four years with the United State Navy as a flight photographer. He went on to the University of Michigan, earning a fine arts degree in 1956 with a major in industrial design. He died in 1989.
Richard Harris graduated from Edwardsburg High School along with his brother in 1948. He was the oldest of the Harris brothers and because of illness as a child was held back in school, so he graduated with his younger brother. He served in the Army and lived in Elkhart. He painted as a hobby. He died June 18, 1998.
Willard Harris graduated from Edwardsburg High School in 1951 and went on to the Herron Art School and later received his masters in art degree from Tulane University. He was an art professor and ultimately the chairman of the art department at the State University of New York in Buffalo, N.Y.
He continued to paint throughout his life featuring large abstract paintings, varied watercolors, acrylics and oils.
He was a accomplished pilot and passed away Feb. 21, 2008 at age 74.
At a visit with his old high school friend, Wendell Leist, he sketched an old barn used as a clubhouse. The sketch is used today on the Garver Lake Golf Course scorecard.
Upon returning to Edwardsburg for a class reunion, it is reported that he said he would not return again because there were too many old people in his class.
Douglas Harris is the youngest of the Harris brothers and was born in 1940. He also attended Edwardsburg High School Class of 1961. He currently resides in Elkhart.
Raymond Harris was the father of Richard, Charles, Willard and Douglas Harris. He was born in southern Indiana and worked as surveyor and industrial engineer moving his family around the Midwest. He settled his family in Edwardsburg, where he designed and built his home on Shirley Lane, north of Eagle Lake, and all of his sons attended Edwardsburg High School. He was interested in painting along with building a sailboat, an airplane, a sail plane and three telescopes.
In 1987, he and his wife, Lucille, were buried in Adamsville Cemetery.
The legacy goes on. Now the grandchildren of Raymond and Lucille carry on with artistic talents. They excel in painting, woodcarving, music and drama — all of the arts.
On Sunday, many of the family members will be at the museum for an opening reception. The public is invited to meet family members, view the artwork of the Harris family and meet the other forty artists who have work on display in the museum. The reception is from 2 to 4 p.m.

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