Ophelia B. Harris

Jan. 1, 1922 - Nov.25, 2013
Ophelia B. Harris,   Jan. 1, 1922 - Nov.25, 2013

       Ophelia B. Harris, a retired Springs School teacher who lived on School Street in Springs for many years, died at home on Friday. She was 91.

       Mrs. Harris, who was known to friends and family as Phe, loved to read, garden, cook, and maintain a warm and cozy household.

       She worked as a seventh and eighth-grade teacher at the Springs School during the 1960s and ’70s, teaching English, math, and history there. She later became the school librarian. After she retired, she served on East Hampton Town’s ethics board. She was a longtime member of the Delta Kappa Gamma educational society.

       She was born on Jan. 1, 1922, to Grover Cleveland Bass and the former Mary Elizabeth Allen of Cumberland City, Tenn., where she attended school through the 12th grade. Following high school, she attended Sullins College in Bristol, Va., and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where she earned a teaching degree with certification to teach French, mathematics, social sciences, history, and civics.

       While at Vanderbilt, she met her future husband, Elwyn R. Harris of Springs, who was stationed in Tennessee before heading to Europe for World War II. They were married on Jan. 9, 1944. After the war, they settled in Springs, where they raised two children.

       After her husband died in 1971, Mrs. Harris developed a friendship with John Damiecki of Bridgehampton. Together they grew potatoes, managed a vineyard, traveled extensively, and maintained a close relationship for more than 40 years.

       One of her lifetime highlights was traveling to Japan, where her son was stationed with the Air Force. She spent several weeks with her son and his family and their group of Japanese friends who took her to many of the sights and introduced her to local customs and food.

       She is survived by a son, E. Richard Harris of Brentwood, Tenn., a sister, Allene Talmage of Springs, five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

       A daughter, Beth Harris, died in 2012.

       A memorial Mass will be said by the Rev. Msgr. Donald M. Hanson at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church today at 10:30 a.m., with a reception to follow at the Bridgehampton Firehouse.

       Mrs. Harris’s ashes will be buried in the Harris family plot at Oakland Cemetery in Sag Harbor in a private ceremony. Memorial contributions have been suggested to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach 11978.