HARRIS, ORLAND HAROLD (1923 ~ 2021). The following is an obituary for Orland Harold "Ike" Harris, former President Pro-Tempore of the Texas Senate. The obituary was provided by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home of Austin.
Orland Harold "Ike" Harris
Austin - Texas lost a patriot and trailblazer with the passing of Orland Harold "Ike" Harris, a long-time Texas state senator and early Republican leader in Dallas. Harris was a mentor and advisor to many and leaves a legacy of devoted service to his state and nation.
Ike Harris graduated from the University of North Texas in 1954 with a degree in political science and then began his career of service by entering the United States Air Force where he was an instructor pilot until his honorable discharge with the rank of Captain in 1957.
Harris next enrolled at Southern Methodist University (Dedman) School of Law. Displaying his leadership abilities early, he served as president of both the law school class and the student body while at Southern Methodist University. Harris was a member of Cycen Fjodr, a men's honorary society, as well as Barristers, a legal honorary society, and was listed among Who's Who Among American Colleges and Universities. He received his LLB degree in 1960 and in the same year was admitted to the State Bar of Texas, subsequently being admitted to practice before the U. S. District Court, Northern District, the U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.
In November 1962, Ike Harris was elected as one of the first Republican state representatives from Dallas County at a time when the party's legislative delegation could meet in the proverbial telephone booth. Five years later, Harris won a special election to the Texas Senate, becoming one of two GOP members in that chamber.
Ike Harris would go on to serve twenty-seven years representing Dallas County in the Texas Senate, becoming the first Republican to be dean of the Senate as its longest-serving member and also being elected President Pro-Tempore of the Senate during the interim of the 63rd Legislature.
During his service in the Senate, Ike Harris was chairman of numerous committees, including State Affairs, Jurisprudence, and Economic Development. He held leadership positions in the National Conference of State Legislatures, Texas Judicial Council, Legislative Natural Resources Board, and Legislative Budget Board.
While a committed Republican, Ike Harris always was willing to work with others across party lines to advance policies benefitting all Texans. Among the many issues on which he provided leadership were the implementation of interstate banking, insurance reform, and the expansion of the University of Texas at Dallas to a four-year institution. Harris was author of the legislation permitting parimutuel betting at horse race tracks in Texas, for which the racing industry honored him with its JoAnn Weber Distinguished Service Award.
Ike Harris loved his family and friends and they loved him. One of his greatest pleasures was to entertain and feed them all. He could often be found in the kitchen preparing fresh produce from the farmer's market as friends and friends of friends regularly showed up on Sundays just to see what was on the stove. His other passion was the beach. He was a certified beachcomber and adored all beaches on the Texas Gulf Coast, especially Port Aransas. His girls never said no to a beach trip. Ike never met a stranger, and would happily talk to anyone who approached him. He said some of those conversations were the most meaningful of his life.
O.H. "Ike" Harris is survived by his two daughters, Wynn Harris Jones (Jeffrey) and Gillian Ann Harris (Michael Murr); four grandchildren, Colby Barrett Jones, William Clixby Jones, Cash Harris Rankin, and Hayden Grey Murr; his canine companion Chula Mae Harris; and many close friends who loved and cared for him in his last years.
There will be a graveside service at the Texas State Cemetery, 909 Navasota St, Austin, TX, at 10 am on Monday, July 12, 2021.
Remembrances can be made at www.wcfish.com