Dr. Patricia Kirkwood Harris, PhD
Pat passed away peacefully on September 05, 2021 at the age of 82. She joins her beloved husband Edgar Harris and stepdaughter Shannon Roberts, each of whom passed away earlier this year, in the grace of the Lord.
Pat was born in Fort Worth, Texas, the daughter of Lee and Pauline Kirkwood. She attended Paschal High School and was a gifted pianist, and was accepted by Smith College to study music. Once enrolled however, she decided to take a different path, and graduated from Smith with a B.A. in Economics in 1960. After returning to Texas, she married Bert Adkins, and together they conceived her son and only child, Bruce. Bert and Pat later divorced, and Pat moved to Austin to continue her education. Once in Austin, she met Edgar Harris, also recently divorced, and after a whirlwind courtship of only a few months the couple were married in January 1973. Ed had two children of his own, Shannon and Jeff, and Pat loved them as family. Ed and Pat remained happily married for almost fifty years until his passing.
After marriage, Pat continued her studies, becoming in 1976 the first woman to ever receive a PhD in Finance from the University of Texas. Her dissertation was entitled, “An Empirical Study in Support of a Theory in Working Capital.” She quickly put her education to use, co-founding a travel agency, Accent Travel, with several of her closest friends in 1978. Pat loved to travel. Over the course of her life Pat traveled to over 100 countries, and as part of her agency led guided tours all over the world.
Pat loved the companionship of people, and she had tremendous energy. Pat volunteered at many charitable organizations, including serving in the 1982 class of Leadership Austin, serving as Vice-Chair of the Governor’s Private Industry Council for the Balance of State in the early 1980s, Vice-Chair of the Austin Chamber of Commerce in 1985, and Vice President of the Austin Assembly. She served as a Board member for the Heritage Society of Austin, the Austin Natural Science Association, and the Settlement Club, and was First Lady in 2012 of the Women’s Symphony League of Austin, where she was a member for over forty years. Pat was an active member and past President of the Austin Woman’s Club. Pat served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and in 1996 helped establish the Endowment Fund for the ASO as well as chairing the Centennial Committee in 2011-12. Later in her life, Pat served as a Docent of the Governor’s Mansion.
In addition to her volunteer work, Pat was a member of many clubs and organizations, including Westwood Country Club, the Headliners Club, the Antiques Club, the Austin Colony Chapter of the DAR, P.E.O., the Dance Club of Austin, Life Member of both the Smith Alumnae Association and Ex-Student’s Association of The University of Texas, and many others. She and Ed attended St. Matthews and St. David’s Episcopal Churches.
Pat immensely enjoyed her life, and tried to live each day to the fullest. Somehow, she made time for everything and everyone. She loved being with her family and friends; telling them stories and listening to theirs. She was always active; hosting or attending parties, going out with friends for dinner, playing tennis. She doted on all of her family, hosting Christmas every year to bring them together, and traveling continuously to see them as they got older. She loved good jokes, and quiet times as well. Once the children had families of their own, Pat and Ed spent every summer in Lawrenceville, Illinois, her ancestral home and a place that held great meaning and deep friendships for her and her husband.
Reflecting on her life of service to the community, dedication to her family, and cherished friendships, Pat will be most fondly remembered by all for her joy in loving companionship.
Pat is survived by her son, Bruce Harris and her daughter-in-law, Maria Ines Raij, along with their two children, Sara and Ben of Pelham, New York. She is also survived by her stepson, Jeff Harris and his wife, Mandy Harris, and their two daughters, Kayla and Autumn of Katy, Texas. She is also survived by Wayne Roberts, husband of Shannon, of College Station, Texas and their two children, Jack and Katy.
Graveside services will be conducted on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at 10:00 am CDT at the Lawrenceville City Cemetery in Illinois, and may be viewed with the following link: https://www.facebook.com/emmonsmaceysteffey. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to the charity of your choice. Emmons-Macey & Steffey Funeral Home in Lawrenceville, Illinois is in charge of the arrangements.
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