This online memorial was created in loving memory of Charleen Harris, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, whose life story is told throughout this memorial website. Please sign Charleen's guest book and let us know you came to visit. We will remember Charleen forever.
Charleen Hope Taylor was born on April 4, 1928, to Mina (McIntosh) and Frank Taylor in Wisconsin. Frank was a Baptist minster, who attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Mina (1907-1982) was the daughter of Emmet and Dott McIntosh, our beloved "Grandma Mac." Charleen was the middle of 3 children, including older brother Dwight Taylor (1925-1997), and younger brother Russell Taylor (1929-2008). Mina and Frank divorced, and Mina married Chester "Chet" Pierce Herr (1906-1972) in 1942. Charleen came to call Chet "Dad." Chet served in the armed forces in WWII, mostly working as a guard at a POW camp in California. Mina and Honey did their part, working in a munitions factory.
Charleen married Ross Allen Harris (b.1924) in 1945. Ross and Charleen were childhood acquaintances from Wauconda, Illinois, where Frank Taylor served in the Baptist Church. Ross served in the Army Air Corps in the latter days of WWII and graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 1949 on the GI Bill.
Charleen had three children, Sidonya Hope (b.1945), Linda Charleen (b.1946), and Paul Allen (b.1948). The story is told that young Sidonya (known affectionately as "Thumper") overheard Ross referring to Charleen as "Honey," a common term of endearment. But the name stuck, and most of us in the family always called her "Honey." The Harris family followed Ross' career as a globe-trekking geo-physicist. They lived in Europe throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, before re-establishing roots back in Wauconda. Ross later worked for Air France at O'Hare Airport (retiring in 1983), and Charleen worked for a time at the Chicago Sun Times.
The 1970s brought stability and grandchildren to Honey and Ross, Billy (b.1967), Andy (b.1970), and Dan (b.1974) were born to Sidonya and William E. Sarell; Alycia (b.1969) and Aimee (b.1971) were born to Paul and Fran Harris; and Timothy (b.1972) was born to Linda and Dennis Shiels. Ross and Charleen generously cared for elderly and ill loved ones until their deaths, including Mina, Chet, and Ross' Aunt Neva.
In 1983, Ross and Char began a new chapter in their lives when Ross retired from Air France, and they moved to Ft. Myers, Florida. While there, they enjoyed going to Bonita Beach and Sanibel Island. Charleen was particularly proud that she attended college for three years at Goddard College, through a combination of independent study and advisory trips to Vermont. Honey spent much of her time quilting, gardening, studying ancient mythology, and enjoying her cats and her two poodles, Gator and Cocoa. Their favorite hang-out dinner spot was Mel's Diner, home of the Mile High Pie. They loved Mel's so much that they had their own booth, and Mel's honored them with a farewell dinner when they left Ft. Myers in 2004.
In her last years, Honey was particuarly prolific in her quilting, sending quilts to friends and loved ones for special occasions, like graduations, weddings, and for newborn great-grandchildren. For everyone who was blessed with a hand-sewn quilt (or two or more) "made with love from Grandma Honey," it is a treasured work of art that will be passed down through the generations.
In 2005, Honey and Ross celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary with nearly their entire family present, at the home of their granddaughter, Aimee Evans.
In 2006, Ross, Char and Linda moved to Portland, Oregon, the residence of grandson Timothy and wife Susan. In Portland, she developed many friendships with people in the meditation community, The Movement Center. Every year she enjoyed sewing the 60+ prayer flags that fly over the main building. She loved the seasonal variety of the flowers and trees in the Portland area, and watching the neighbors as they rode by on their bikes or walked their dogs.
Charleen died peacefully on August 9, 2009 with her beloved Ross, two daughters Sid and Linda, grandson Timothy and Susan by her side.
This reflection was written completely by memory, so there may be small inaccuracies. All of us have our own unique stories and memories to share about Charleen, and we invite you to share them here in our guestbook ... and perhaps correct any factual errors I may have inadvertently made in this short biography.
We will always miss Honey, but she will also always live in our hearts.