BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
Jerome ‘Bubba’ W. Harris, Jr., who passed away on Nov. 25, 2016, was recently honored for the legacy he left to Greenville and Alabama.
The Alabama Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) of District 6 provided a park bench and a plaque at the Greenville Sportsplex in his memory at a recent dedication ceremony on Wednesday, June 12.
Harris was the Greenville Parks and Recreation Director for 18 years before he retired in May of 2016. Not only was he the director but he coached many teams and mentored many more student athletes over his lifetime.
At the dedication ceremony, members of ARPA fondly spoke of Harris.
Dan Smith, Troy Parks and Recreation Director said Harris touched tens of thousands of lives. “We are thankful we had the opportunity to work with Jerome. We’re excited about this dedication today and think it fitting for honoring his legacy.”
His close friend, Dothan Leisure Services Director Elston Jones who grew up with Harris in Greenville, said, “Mr. Harris made his mark. From those who are here today to those in Greenville, he made a mark.
“He made his mark as a father, as a husband, as an athlete, as a coach, and today Mr. Harris is still making his mark as a leisure service recreational professional and as well as a leader in the community by this dedication today.”
Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said, “There are not that many people who come through your life that you just know it’s as fine a person as you have ever met.
“He not only made his mark but he left this town a better place. He loved every kid who came through the parks and recreation and what I remember is that he was a great person.
“He deserves this memorial and we will take care of it because he is never going to be forgotten. We need more people like Jerome in this world.”
At the dedication ceremony, Jerome Harris, III, said, “I thank God for allowing for him (his father) to be my life. He was my superman. They say every great man has a great woman and that is my Mom.
“My dad always told me to lead by example. Don’t ask anyone to do something you can’t do. Thank you for this dedication. Thank you Gregg (Gregg Fuller is the current Greenville Parks and Recreation Director), and thank you Mayor. The Greenville Parks and Recreation will always be in my heart and I thank you for everything today.
Jerome W. Harris, Jr. was born June 9, 1955 and was instrumental in the development of fast pitch softball in Greenville and started a youth track program through Hershey Track and Field.
The program sent numerous athletes to the national competition in Pennsylvania over 25 years.
Additionally he was presented with a lifetime membership in the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association in 2014 at the District 6 meeting in Dothan.