Joe Gene Harris, 80, passed away on September 30, 2023 in Rome, Italy while traveling with family and friends. He was born on March 28, 1943 in Fort Worth, Texas to Joseph Wilson and Ava Verlene (Burkhalter) Harris.
Joe grew up in Kennedale, Texas where he graduated from high school in 1961. He married Joyce Ann Cunningham, also from Kennedale, in 1963. During his early years of marriage and starting a family, Joe worked his way through college and earned a Bachelor of Business degree from University of Texas at Arlington.
Joe was known for his entrepreneurial spirit, drive for success, integrity, faith, and dedication to work and family. He had a commanding, persuasive presence when he was “in his zone” and yet still stayed engaged with those around him. This served him well as a dynamic salesman and founder of two businesses.
In 1967, Joe found the corrugated packaging industry which became his passion. He became a top salesman at the companies he worked for, but his innate drive for entrepreneurship led him to go out on his own and start Harris Packaging Corporation in 1976. He and Joyce worked tirelessly to establish and grow the business. Their customer-first focus and commitment to integrity has left a legacy which is being carried on by their daughters and grandchildren. Even after Joyce’s passing, Joe continued to keep his enterprising spirit alive by starting American Carton Company.
Joe married Catherine Fields in 1992 which brought a new dimension to his life of an extended family that he embraced and loved as his own. Joe and Catherine made many friends and cherished memories together, whether it was while cruising, snow skiing, motorcycle riding, spending summers in the mountains in their RV, or quality time with their children and grandchildren. They were happily married for 31 years.
Joe was preceded in death by his first wife, Joyce; parents, Joseph and Ava Harris; brother, Michael Harris; granddaughter, Taylor Dawson.
He is survived by his wife, Catherine; daughters, Jenise Cox and husband Koby, Jana Harris and husband Zachary Campbell, Angela Shaver and husband Daymon; grandchildren, Jordan Dawson, Payton Cox and his wife Courtney, Kelsey Cox, Kyle Shaver, and Adin Shaver; great-grandchildren, Joy and Lucy Cox; numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
A funeral service will be held at First Methodist Mansfield, Texas at 1:00 PM October 26, 2023. Burial will follow at Emerald Hills Cemetery in Kennedale, Texas.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County or Salvation Army of Fort Worth.