William James Harris, 73 of Winona, died Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at Sugarloaf Senior Living.
Bill was born in Bemidji, Minnesota September 25th, 1947 to Lila Marie (Wilkins) and James William Harris. The family moved first to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota and then to Fargo, North Dakota where Bill attended Benjamin Franklin Elementary and Junior High Schools and then graduated from Fargo Central High School in 1965. He earned his bachelor's degree from North Dakota State University, and his MBA from Colorado State University. His passion was for helping people with physical and mental challenges which led to his work at Winona ORC, Inc. from which he retired after working there for over 30 years.
In his leisure time, Bill enjoyed hunting, fishing, scuba diving and traveling. He also enjoyed playing poker and pool with his friends. He was an active member of the Winona DFL and served on the board of Home & Community Options.
Bill is survived by his son, Nelson (Tanya) Harris; two grandchildren, Jocelyn and Isaac Harris; sisters, (Agnes) Elaine Twogood, and Betty (Jim) Hilleson; and brother, Michael (Marianne) Harris. He was preceded in death by his parents.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, August 27, 2021 at Hoff Celebration of Life Center, Goodview. Please sign William's guestbook and view the memorial video at www.hofffuneral.com when it becomes available. Hoff Celebration of Life Center is assisting the family.
"A random blossom of a friendship-turned family between an elder and an old soul, \"Billy Bob\", as I called him, was the most patient and kind person I have met. We would shop together, create strange food recipes we always wanted to try(but no one else would), vent about politics (well, that was mostly him, but I didn\'t mind), and I would sit back and listen to all of his life stories and fun travels over his lifetime. My fellow obsessor of all things coffee, and I could always count on him to go find a random Cafe for a scone and a latte! He was a savior for me while I went through nursing school, and he was a Saint listening to me in panic mode as I often didn\'t know how I would get through it and he always kept me laughing. Bill allowed those around him to be their true authentic selves without judgement. Thank you, Billy Bob, for teaching me patience, kindness and what true friendship is all about. I will forever hear your voice speaking the words from our favorite elephant photo: \" I am content to take my time.\" "
"Winona was a better place for Bill Harris. I was lucky to work with Bill in his professional capacity at ORC and in his volunteer work with the DFL, and there was no more stalwart an individual than he. Deeply dedicated to those who faced challenges and hardships, he was always calm, courteous and caring. Just wish I had been able to play pool with him. This noble gentleman will be missed."
"I remember time shared with Bill fondly. He played an important role in my adjustment to membership responsibilities on the Home and Community Board, always sharing his personal passion, experiences and knowledge. Finding the best, most caring ways to serve others was always foremost in his mind . "
"Bill was so knowledgeable about issues pertaining to people with developmental disabilities. He was an inspiring individual whom I had the great pleasure of serving with on Home and Community Options? Board of Directors. I am so grateful to have met him. "
"I will remember Bill for his calm and kind demeanor - and his passion to help individuals with disabilities. Bill hired me for my first \"real\" adult job - and because of this, I met my husband.. . for that I will be forever grateful."
"Bill was a compassionate man and changed the lives of many. He served as the Executive Director of Winona ORC and on the Board of Directors of Home and Community Options for many years. His service to individuals with Disabilities won\'t be forgotten! "
"Bill and I shared several passions. Home and Community Options, the DFL and a good game of pool. He will be missed by all who knew him."
"Bill was a pool sportsman, excellent player, humble winner and gracious when he lost a game. He was a positive contributor to the Winona community in so many ways. He will be missed."
"The Houston County DFL sends our sympathy to Bill\'s family. He was a dedicated DFLer and we are glad we had the opportunity to work with him over the years. Teresa O\'Donnell-Ebner, Houston County DFL Chair"
"Bill was a great guy. We had fun at ORC and we were all like family with Bill at the helm. I\'m so happy I got to visit with him a few weeks ago. My heart goes out to you, Nelson and also to the rest of the family."
"Bill was a very kind man! "