Joseph Leo Harris, 73, of Cape Girardeau passed away Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2003, at his home.
He was born Oct. 3, 1930, in Beaumont, Texas, son of Leo Butler and Cecilia Elder Harris. He grew up in Texas and Louisiana and graduated from Louisiana State University in 1953 with a degree in history. He married Frances Smisson May 29, 1953.
He served in the artillery as a lieutenant during the Korean War. Upon his return from Korea, he studied at State University of Iowa, earning an MFA in creative writing in 1958, and a masters in the humanities in 1959.
Following the birth of his children, Mary Olivia, Cecelia, and Ben, he studied at Tulane University and the University of North Carolina and earned his Ph.D. in the humanities at Florida State University in 1967.
He taught in the English department at Southeast Missouri State University from 1959 until retiring in 1995, when he became professor emeritus.
In addition to being an avid fisherman and hunter, Leo enjoyed writing short stories, wood carving, traveling, reading and telling stories, and playing with his dogs.
Leo was preceded in death by his parents and only sibling, Ann Harris Weill.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Capaha Park, where a tree has been planted in his honor west of the lagoon. Friends are invited to share memories of Leo.
He requests memorials be made to the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri.
Ford and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.