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Former Leader salesman Harris Sr., 87, dies

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Former Leader salesman Harris Sr., 87, dies

In The Leader office, he was known at "Papa Jack" and, even though he'd retired nearly a decade ago, he'd still stop by to say hello.
After all, old habits die hard, and when you've spent more than half a century working for the same company, you often find yourself back in familiar surroundings.
"Mr. Jack was a treasure and a friend. He visited the office regularly and we'd talk fishing for a while and touch on matters of family and community," said Brian Blackley, publisher of The Leader.
On Friday, May 16, Papa Jack suffered a massive heart attack while fishing at Pickwick. He died a short time later.
"As anyone who knew him could tell you, Mr. Jack loved fishing almost as much as he loved his family, and those shared interests are why I felt a bond with him. I took comfort in knowing he was with his son with a fishing rod in hand when he fell ill. In that way, it was almost like Mr. Jack wrote his own ending. I'll miss our talks and my thoughts and prayers are with his wife, his children and their families, whom he loved dearly."
He began his long career in 1952, working in  the bindery for 75 cents an hour.
"I thought I never would get to a dollar," he told The Leader in a 2012 interview.
He retired as one of the most well-known and beloved employees from the newspaper's golden age.
Jack worked alongside other Leader greats, like Bill Terry Deverell and the late George Whitley, Larry Whitley and Martha Jo Shelley.
"He and George worked together for many years," said Gladys Whitley. "He was very family-oriented and loved to know what was going on in the community, which is good thing for a newspaper man."
He was known as someone who liked to "cut-up," Deverell said Wednesday.
Mr. Jack once told the story of putting ink inside the gloves of John Click, a supervisor in the press room known to be very tidy.
Click, as the story goes, was not amused when he put his gloves on to work.
"He said he was going to whoop everybody in there," Papa Jack said.
Eventually Jack moved on to photographer and advertising salesman, roles for which he is best known.
"He was a good friend and a good guy to work with over the years," said Deverell.
Before joining The Leader, Jack was employed with the Mason Telephone Company, which was owned by  his father and later became Millington Telephone.
Mr. Jack leaves his wife, Nell Harden Harris of Mason, sons Jack Harris Jr. (Barbara) of Silver Lake, Wisc. and Ricky Harris of Mason, daughter Donna Bryant (Richard) of New Johnsville, Tenn., sister Jane Eubanks of Mason, grandchildren Trey Harris, Nikki Spray, Nathan Harris and Britni O’Neal and great-grandchildren Dalton Newman, Colee Harris, Dylan Newman and Jessica Spray. He was preceded in death by brothers, Dick and J. B. Harris.

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