Bette Jean Harris

Alton | Saturday, January 16 2016

Bette Jean Harris, 83, passed away early Friday morning at her home. Born January 16, 1933 in Judsonia, Arkansas she was the daughter of Thomas G. Bailey Sr. and Lena (Jackson) Bailey. Bette worked for Tri County Beauty Academy in Litchfield with her mother and later as a cosmetology instructor for the J.B. Johnson Vocational School in Alton. She then went back to school and completed her bachelor’s degree in 1984 and became an English teacher at West Middle School where she taught for 10 years. She loved the change and the challenge. Bette was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Illinois Hairdresser Association, Illinois Retired Teacher’s Association, Alton Community Service League, and P.E.O. Chapter JZ. On October 10, 1953 she married Wiley L. Harris Jr. in Alton. He preceded her in death on June 17, 1990 after 14 years of home dialysis. Surviving is a daughter Barbara Ann Bowen (Andy) of Godfrey, a son, Thomas Wiley Harris (Judy Jones) of Alton and a brother-in-law Joseph Eugene Harris of Godfrey. Also surviving is her loving care giver Viola Link along with Tonya and Candace. Along with her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by a brother Thomas Bailey Jr. Bette’s optimism and enthusiastic outlook, her encouragement and caring for others, her creativity, always making the most of what she had her whole life, these traits and many more always made her an inspiration to all those who knew her. “Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and exclaiming WOOHOO What A Ride!” Visitation will be from 4:00-8:00 p.m. with a P.E.O. Memorial service at 7:00 p.m. Monday, January 25, 2016 at Gent Funeral Home in Alton. Visitation will continue from 10:00 a.m. until time of funeral service at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Father David Boase will officiate. Burial will be at Valhalla Memorial Park in Godfrey. Memorials may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church or Heartland Hospice of Fairview Heights. Online guestbook and information may be found at

Obit Provided By:
Gent Funeral Home

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