James William “Bill” Harris passed away suddenly December 20, 2020 at his home in Hampstead, NC. He was born November 24, 1943 to James T. Harris Jr and Janet Jones Harris, he was 77 years old. Bill was born and raised in Hamlet, NC.
He was a four-sport standout athlete earning 13 letters at Hamlet High School before graduating in 1962. He was offered a scholarship to play baseball and Basketball at what was then Wilmington College, known as the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. While at Wilmington College Bill was proud to be part of the Baseball team that won the National Junior College Championship in 1963. Ultimately he went on to play professional baseball with the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals.
Bill was honored and inducted into the UNCW Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 where he swapped stories of long bus rides to play games and the thrill of batting .667 in the JUCO World Series earning All-Tournament honors. He was an active supporter of UNCW baseball and athletics, he was a true Seahawk at heart. His love of sports was immense but above all else was his love for family and friends. He worked at Thomas Bait and Tackle in Topsail Island, NC for many years and loved helping customers and making them laugh. To know Bill was to love him, he made a tremendous impact to all he knew. His health issues of these last few years did not deter him from being his usual cheerful self. He never met a stranger. He will be sorely missed.
He is survived by his son James William Harris Jr. and Daughter-in-law Sherri Harris, grandsons Andrew James Harris and Joseph Jackson Harris of Lillington, NC; his sister Betty Carter and brother-in-law Ernest of Hamlet, NC; niece Renee Grzybowski of Hamlet, NC and son Alex wife Melissa and son Eric; niece Annette Peck and Husband Phillip of High Point, NC and their daughter Savannah and son Mitchell.
Preceded in Death by his parents James T. Harris, Jr. and Janet Jones Harris
In lieu of flowers memorial may be made to William “Bill” Harris SSA Scholarship Endowment at UNCW.
Address; UNCW 601 S. College Rd. Wilmington, NC. 28403-5905
Graveside service will be held Monday December 28, 2020 at Mary Love Cemetery in Hamlet, NC at 2:00. Please follow social distancing guidelines. Watson-King funeral home in Hamlet is caring for the family.
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