After a long illness, a beloved member of Unity of Prescott, Elizabeth Harris made her transition on November 30, 2021.
Elizabeth started her life of service early. She grew up in a bright, loving, intellectually stimulating household, with a father who was an inventor and musician; a faithful, astute, courageous mother; a dear brother with whom she would share a deep love and companionship throughout her life; and of course, a variety of dogs. As a young woman, she had already decided to direct the marvelous extent of her talent and intelligence to do good in the world. After attending Northwestern University and then getting a graduate degree in learning disabilities at Webster University in St. Louis, she became a teacher for the deaf, a profession which she loved deeply and engaged in for over 18 years. In the evenings and over the summers, she served as an adjunct faculty member in the field, training others to serve well and passionately.
Elizabeth and her husband, George decided to retire in Prescott after reading about the city in a motorcycle magazine and recognizing that it also fulfilled their quest for a good library, a college, and excellent health care. Of course, they bought the first active/passive solar house built by Yavapai College. Elizabeth’s mother moved into Samaritan Village Apartments nearby. And they continued their beautiful life together until George got ill.
Elizabeth was a giver, a server, a lover of God before George passed, but said that nursing him, and finally losing him, forced her to turn to her faith even more to survive; and to recognize, even more, the enormous capacity for suffering in the world, the enormous need to give love.
She continued to give, shining brighter and brighter, in her last decades: wholeheartedly serving as a YRMC Hospice Chaplain, a Unity Church chaplain, and a Lay Minister; being part of numerous boards, including Unity of Prescott for many years; winning a “Caring Heart” award from the Margaret T. Morris Center, and an “International Women of Distinction Award” from the Soroptomist Club for helping women reach their full potential. But most of all, just being that person for so many people— the person they could always call. The person they knew was praying for them. Elizabeth adopted people, took them into her heart, just like she adopted her final dog, a tiny rescue dog named Lily who went from nervous and alone to secure and deeply happy— blossoming, like the rest of us, in the light of Elizabeth’s constant love.
Like any other rare soul who makes such an impact on so many people, her passing leaves a space in many lives. But simultaneously, the memory of a life lived so well, with so much love, fills each of those spaces with light.
Elizabeth is survived by her beloved niece Susanna Stone and her intentional family, Lynn and Mark Leu.
A celebration of her life is planned for Saturday, April 9 at 2 pm at Unity of Prescott.