RAPHINE, VA — Nellie Brown Coyner Harris, 97, of Raphine passed away at her residence Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. She was preceded in death by her husband of 39 years, William Martin Harris. She was born Jan. 4, 1915, in Waynesboro, daughter of the late David Joseph and Booker Brown Coyner.
In her early years, she was a member of Zion and later Grace Evangelical Lutheran churches. Nellie was salutatorian of the Woodrow Wilson High School class of 1933, in Waynesboro.
Before marriage, she worked for the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. Later in life, she worked at Harris Animal Hospital in Roanoke. On March 15, 1937, she married William Martin Harris and moved to the Spottswood community, where she became a member of Old Providence Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. She was active in all areas of the church; she taught various Sunday School classes, led youth groups and served on the historical committee. She was very involved in the work of the Women of the Church, holding offices on the local, Presbyterial and Synodical levels. She was a member of Spottswood School PTA and Spottswood Home Demonstration Club, the Col. Thomas Hughart Chapter NSDAR, Augusta County Historical Society and Fairfield Senior Citizens. It was a special joy for her to serve as a 4-H leader, working with local girls and nieces to complete their sewing projects.
Nellie appreciated the manner in which the Lord gave her the ability to remain active in her church and to take her turn in rotation to teach her ladies’ Bible class. Nellie’s interest in the history of her family and her preservation of family, church and community records have been an inspiration. She maintained an involved interest in the activities of her family and friends, as well as in the current events of her church denomination, community and nation. She enjoyed writing and receiving letters and appreciated numerous visits and phone calls.
In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by her son, Dr. Charles C. Harris; brother, Joseph D. Coyner; sister, Lillian Coyner Pinkham; and brothers-in-law, Frank Patterson and Duke Pinkham.
She is survived by her son, Rev. Dr. William M. Harris Jr. and wife, Reta; daughter-in-law, Evelyn Harris; two sisters, Mary Elizabeth Coyner Patterson and Lucille Coyner Phillippee and husband, Paul; and sister-in-law, Becky Michael Coyner. She also is survived by grandchildren, Doug Harris and wife, Teresa, Kathy Trout and husband, Alvin, Robert Harris, Mary Catherine Lawson and husband, Jody, Karen Valente and husband, Michael, and Linda Dolan and husband, Chris; great-grandchildren, Krysta Trout, Marty Harris, Megan Harris, Elijah Trout, Seth Carswell, Kirstin Taylor, Brandon Taylor, Josh Lawson and Emily Lawson; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, at Old Providence ARP Church, with the Rev. H. Max Bolin and the Rev. Dr. William M. Harris Jr. officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
Active pallbearers will be Doug Harris, Robert Harris, Alvin Trout, Jody Lawson, Michael Valente, Chris Dolan, Marty Harris, Elijah Trout, Seth Carswell, Martin Chittum, Jerry Arehart and Lyle Harlow. Honorary pallbearers will be Brandon Taylor, Josh Lawson, Marvin Hutchens, Eric Earhart, Kendall Clay, Dr. John Wise and members of the ladies’ and men’s Bible classes at Old Providence Church.
The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, at Henry Funeral Home (www.henry funeralhome.net). The body will lie in state at the church one hour preceding the funeral service.
The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the History Fund of Old Providence Church and mailed to Jackie Coffey, 6014 Lee Jackson Highway, Raphine, VA 24472; the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery Fund and mailed to Attn: Cemetery Fund, 297 Zion Church Road, Waynesboro, VA 22980; or The American Heart Association and mailed to Memorial Fund, 4217 Park Place Court, Glen Allen, VA 23060.