Last updated: October 12. 2013 1:46AM - 602 Views

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MIDDLESBORO — Imelda McDowell Riley “Tutts” Harris died peacefully in her sleep, Wednesday, October 9, 2013. She was the widow of David McLain Harris who predeceased her October 16, 2010. They resided in Middlesboro, Kentucky.


Imelda was born in Welch, West Virginia on October 1, 1928, the daughter of the late Aaron Ewell Riley and Imelda McDowell Riley. She grew up in various coal camps as her father advanced his career with U.S. Coal and Coke Company. She had one sister, Anna Dale Riley and one brother, Patrick Ewell Riley, both of whom predeceased her. The Riley family moved to Middlesboro around 1940.


A graduate of Middlesboro High School, Imelda attended Mary Washington College for two years. She married David M. Harris, August 4, 1948. Several years later, she returned to college at Lincoln Memorial University. She completed in 1966 her baccalaureate degree in business administration, having attended classes as a part-time student while continuing to care for her family at home. She was the mother of David McLain Harris, Jr., Anna Dale Harris Pyles, and John Wright Harris.


Imelda was a member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Middlesboro. Over the years, she served in many roles there: Sunday school teacher, choir member, altar guild member, vestry member, senior warden, and delegate to both Diocese of Lexington and National Episcopal Church conventions. Through her dedication to St. Mary’s, Imelda worked to establish the Cooperative Christian Ministry in Middlesboro. An organization known as the CRWRC ceded money to enable CCM, and Imelda was most proud of her diligent work alongside other local citizens to keep CCM viable during its early years.


Imelda had served on the Bell County Library Board, and was a member of the Historical Society. She had been active in the Middlesboro Garden Club, was a golfer and bridge player and continued to enjoy friends from those circles until her final days. Though Imelda maintained her residence on Gloucester Avenue, she chose to reside at the Middlesboro Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility where she received devoted and wonderful care from the dedicated staff of professionals.


Imelda is survived by David M. “Lain” and Sissy Harris of Harrogate, Tennessee, Anna Dale and Robert H. Pyles of Mason County, Kentucky, and John and Sharon Harris of Madisonville, Kentucky. She is survived by her three grandchildren and their families: Aaron Wright and Sue Harris, Brenna and A.J., of Griffith, Indiana; John Scott and Leslie Harris, Mason, Abigail and Ben of Hendersonville, Tennessee; and Lydah McLain Pyles DeBin and Joseph R. DeBin of Portland, Oregon. She is survived by her nephew and niece Patrick Erin Riley of Lexington, and Mary Madison Riley Bennett of Louisville and their families. Three cousins, Betsy Dale Tice White of Atlanta, Kay Armitage Strohman of Orangeburg, SC, and James Armitage of Kingsport, Tennessee also survive her.


The family will receive friends at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 131 Edgewood Road, Middlesboro, on Friday, October 11, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. The Burial of the Dead, Rite I will be held at St. Mary’s on Saturday, October 12 at 11:00am with The Reverend Deacon Peter Alan Helman, Minister-in-Charge. Interment will follow at the Middlesboro Cemetery.


Pallbearers are Aaron W. Harris, J. Scott Harris, Patrick E. Riley, Steven Denham, David Denham, Coty Partin, W.B. Blackmon, and Keith Nagle. Honorary pallbearers are Joseph R. DeBin, Sam A. Mars, and Richard H. Tamer.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Cooperative Christian Ministry of Middlesboro, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, or to the charity of one’s choice.


Shumate Funeral Home is entrusted with all arrangements.


Guestbook at www.shumatefuneralhome.com

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