John Silver Harris, 76, of Boca Rotan, Florida, and formerly of Morganton died unexpectedly Friday, October 9, 2009 following a period of declining health. He was born May 9, 1933 in Morganton to Lennie S. Harris and the late John Boone Harris. John graduated from Oak Hill High School in 1950 and then completed an additional year of high school at Morganton. This enabled John to acquire enough college credits to enter Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. While enrolled at Berea College, John became the editor of the college newspaper. This exposure to writing and reporting the news launched him into a career of journalism. He graduated from Berea College in 1955.John served in the US Army and Army Reserve from October 5, 1957 until October 4, 1961. After completing his tour in the military, John began working for the Cynthiana Democrat newspaper in Cynthiana, KY, and became the editor in a short period of time. As a result of his writing and reporting skills, John was offered a position with the National Enquirer. He accepted the job and moved to Boca Rotan, FL to work in the Enquirer’s main officeJohn was once interviewed by Mike Wallace of CBS’s 60 Minutes. He was also given an assignment by the National Enquirer to travel around the world in search of the perfect "Utopia" (heaven on earth). This assignment involved traveling half-way around the world, coming home to rest for a couple of months, and then completing the other half. He kept a travel log of the places he visited while on assignment. John’s conclusion was that "Utopia" is not necessarily a place, but can also be a state of mind.After John’s retirement, he continued to do free-lance work for several newspapers in the Boca Rotan and Miami, Florida area. His love for history led him to compile numerous books on the genealogy of many families in Burke County and elsewhere, some of which are located in the Burke County Library.In addition to his mother, survivors left behind to cherish his memory are sisters, Doris H. Medlin and husband, Robert L. of Charlotte, and Helen H. Farris and husband, Walter of Morganton; his ex-wife, Merlin Kennedy Harris; and two step-sons, Darryl and Paul Kennedy.In addition to his father, he was preceded in death by an infant son, Steven Todd Harris.A graveside service will be held at 1:00 pm, Saturday, October 31, 2009 at Mountain Grove United Methodist Church Cemetery with Rev. Betty Henson officiating. Following the graveside service, a Celebration of Life service will be held at 1:15 pm in the church fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Berea College, 103 Jackson St., Berea, KY 40403-1749, or Mountain Grove United Methodist Church Cemetery Fund, 3625 Fish Hatchery Rd., Morganton, NC 28655. Sossoman Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
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