“Many daughters have done virtuously but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates.”
Birder Lou Harris (nee Hinton) was born October 21, 1930 in Pickensville, Alabama. She was the eldest of eight children born to Jimmie and Bessie Hinton. At the age of six, the family moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama where Birder attended Central elementary school and Industrial high school. After being inspired by Mrs. Marie Hood, the only African-American Registered Nurse in Tuscaloosa, she decided to become a nurse herself. With the help of Mr. Kimble, she spent the summer learning chemistry to fulfill the requirements. She applied and was accepted at Mercy Douglas Nursing school in Philadelphia. After saving up to pay her way by doing hair, she was off to Philly.
While studying in Philadelphia she was introduced to a young serviceman named Narva Harris Jr. They began dating and were married in 1954. That same year she graduated Mercy Douglas School of Nursing and began her career as a Registered Nurse.
In August 1955 she gave birth to her first child, Narva Lee Harris III. He was the apple of her eye. Her daughter Cassandra Patrice, born in 1956, was her primary caregiver and companion in her last years. Frances Jeanette followed in 1957. In 1959, her rock, her true, never-failing hero and steadfast champion Thomas Maxwell was born.
Birder continued her nursing career while raising her children. After many years at Mercy Douglas and Albert Einstein hospitals, she decided to change her nursing focus to psychiatric nursing. From that point forward, after taking night courses at Temple University, she was able to secure a position at EPPI which would lead to a eventual position as Director of nursing. Later continuing in that capacity, she closed out a stellar forty-four year career at Parkview Hospital.
In retirement, Birder turned her attention to service of the community. She was an active and diligent member of the Love Missionary Fellowship family. She contributed her time as Treasurer, Vacation Bible School teacher, Missionary and choir member to name a few. She also volunteered her time on the Obama presidential and Wolf gubernatorial campaigns.
She was an active participant in her neighborhood, helping to organize the occasional block party, and of course, she was a loving grandmother to Gregory, Falizah, Sinceré, Corey, TJ, Bryan, Daren, Amanda, Amber and Touré.
Birder is preceded in death by her parents and husband Narva; her sisters Ocie B, Annie Ruth and her brother Jimmie Lee. She is survived by her 2 sons, Narva (Sheila) Harris III and Thomas (Elizabeth) Harris of Philadelphia; her 2 daughters, Cassandra Harris, also of Philadelphia and Frances Harris of Salem, Oregon; her 10 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, as well as her 4 surviving sisters; Wilda Whitfield of Inglewood, CA, Tinnie (Fern) Bryant, Ruby (Young) Barton both of Detroit MI, and Margaret Busch of Thousand Oaks Ca.
Our Matriarch is departed; go safely there. We celebrate your long life.
Submitted With Love, The Family