Remembered for his leadership and keen sense of sportsmanship, Stanley Walker Harris, former president of Walker Harris Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, died Saturday at the age of 61 after a battle with cancer.
"He was our family leader," said Tony Harris, Stan's younger brother. "That's the best way I know to put it."
The son of Walker Harris, a former mayor of Covington and the founder of Walker Harris Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, Stan, a lifelong resident of Newton County, joined the family business while still in high school.
"He ran our business," Tony said. "As my dad grew older and wasn't as involved, Stan took it over and ran it very efficiently. It continued to grow and prosper through his efforts."
A 1965 graduate of Newton County High School, Stan played on the boy's basketball team all four years of high school and was an integral part of the team's historic success in winning the state championship under Coach Ron Bradley in 1964.
"He was not only an outstanding young man, he was an outstanding leader," said Bradley, who now coaches at Heritage High School.
Bradley recalled that Stan was selected as an All-State basketball layer both his junior and senior year in high school
"When you look back at those two years, we only lost one game each year," said Bradley who has remained in touch with the Harris family through the years. "In those four years we only lost nine games. Stan was a mighty important part of that. His teams never lost in the home gym. He never tasted defeat there.
"I could talk about basketball skills but Stan was bigger than that. I could talk about stats but stats don't even touch Stan," Bradley said. "He was such an outstanding leader. [His teammates] all respected and loved Stanley Harris. We're all going to miss him."
After graduating from high school, Stan went on to play basketball for Middle Georgia College for two years before graduating in 1967. He then attended the University of Georgia where he majored in business.
Stan then returned home in 1969 to manage the family car dealership which he ran until the end 2007 when the family decided to sell the company to Ginn Motor Company. He also served as a director on the Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep Advertising Board for twenty years and served on the Board of the National Automobile Dealers Association for five years.
He was a member and former president of the Covington Rotary Club, a past member of the Board of Trustees of George Walton Academy in Monroe and a member of Covington First Baptist Church where he served on several church committees.
He is survived by his wife, Becky Harris; daughter, Trudy Harris; son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Ida Harris; grandchildren, Parks and Hudson Harris; father, Walker Harris; sister and brother-in-law, Dawn and Marshall Atha; brother and sister-in-law, Tony and Donna Harris; and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held at First Baptist Church on Monday afternoon where an overflowing crowd of mourners left standing room only. Internment followed at Lawnwood Memorial Park.
Harris' obituary is published on page 5B.