WAYNE W. HARRIS, 93, of North Little Rock, died peacefully at home Friday, January 11, 2019. A North Little Rock forefather, banker, “Pops,” and WWII veteran, Wayne is survived by his wife of 36 years Cathy Muscalino Harris, his daughter Deborah Ann Nicholas of Columbus, Mississippi, his son Donovan Wayne Harris (Susan) of Sherwood, grandchildren Holly Kim Harris of North Little Rock, William David Harris of Little Rock, Elizabeth Ann Harris of Memphis, nephews William Harris, Jr. (Nancy), Fred Dierks (Mary), Wayne Alan Dierks (Lesa), Rick Cogburn (Pam), niece Linda Beckworth (Mark), special friend of the family Jann Pharo, and a multitude of friends he affectionately nicknamed.
Wayne was born December 12, 1925, in El Dorado, Arkansas. After the death of his parents when he was age 7, he and his brother and sisters lived at the original Little Rock Children’s Home, now the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. They were raised by Ruth Olive Beall, superintendent for 27 years, after whom an annual hospital scholarship is named. She kept up with Wayne over the years and wrote to him regarding his many outstanding achievements.
Wayne served in the U.S. Navy aboard a ship that landed at Iwo Jima. He returned to Iwo Jima in 2012 for the 67th anniversary of the Iwo Jima battle. His personal belongings are at the Wayne Harris Exhibit at the Road to Tokyo Museum, located at the World War II Veterans Museum in New Orleans. Wayne and Cathy, along with 25 friends and relatives, attended the museum opening in 2015, on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
Wayne graduated from Little Rock High School, attended Hendrix College, and attended Little Rock Junior College. He earned three certifications from the American Institute of Bankers (AIB) at Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University (SMU) at Dallas. In his youth, Wayne enjoyed participating in boxing and wrestling. He was a member of First United Methodist Church, Little Rock.
Wayne was a founding member of First American National Bank in North Little Rock, where he served as Vice President and member of the Board of Directors. He served as President of the Little Rock Chapter of AIB, President of the NLR Sertoma Club, President of the Pulaski County Lung Association, Treasurer of the North Hills Country Club, member of the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce Committee, judge for the Arkansas Poultry Princess Contest, member of the North Little Rock Boys Club Board of Directors, member of the Greater Little Rock Clearing House, and also President of the Little Rock Ski Club, where he served as Chairman of the “Morals Committee,” as well as a member of the Propeller Club.
Wayne and Cathy loved snow skiing and world travels. They enjoyed 18 cruises over the years. A favorite was a Mediterranean cruise that took them to Rome, Italy.
Wayne was owner of American Storage in Sherwood. His 80th birthday was proclaimed Wayne Harris Day by all living North Little Rock mayors; many friends in the Central Arkansas community attended the celebration.
A Memorial Service will be held Tuesday, January 15, at 3 p.m. at Smith-North Little Rock Funeral Home, 1921 Main St., North Little Rock, followed by a Celebration of Wayne’s Life at 4:30 at the Razorback Room, Wyndham Hotel, 2 Riverfront Place, North Little Rock. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Arkansas Hospice, 14 Parkstone Circle, North Little Rock, AR 72116 or St. Jude’s Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or online at www.stjude.org.