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Dolores Harris

Sep 14th, 1933 - Oct 25th, 2023

Celebration of Life: 12 noon on Saturday, November 4, 2023, at Frank & Bright Funeral Home in Flora

Interment: Elmwood Cemetery

Visitation: 5-7 p.m. on Friday evening and thirty minutes prior to the ceremony on Saturday

 

      Dolores Jean Harris, age 90, of Flora, Illinois, passed away Wednesday afternoon, October 25, 2023, at her home in the loving care of her daughter, Tammy Reneé.

      She was born on September 14, 1933, in Xenia, Illinois, the sixth child of George Wendell and Marjorie Hannah (Dively) Vaughn.

      Dolores was born into a musical family and grew up playing piano and singing in a trio with her sisters.  One night at the young age of 16, she substituted for one of the members of her father and mother’s singing group, the Jubilee Quartet, at a church in Fairfield, Illinois. A young man by the name of Ray Harris was in the audience that night and watched “the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen” sing.  He left quickly that night, afraid to talk to her.  When he mustered the courage to try and find her, no one knew who she was.  So his search stalled, until one Sunday afternoon Ray and his brother were in Flora and decided to go roller skating.  And much to his surprise there she was, the girl he had been searching for!  They skated and Ray conveniently slipped away from his brother to attend church with Dolores that evening.  The whirlwind romance began, and Ray started singing with Dolores’ family group.  Nine months later on January 15, 1951, they were united in marriage at the Ellen Moore Methodist Church in Fairfield, Illinois. She was 17 years old.  She proceeded to finish her senior year at Flora High School, graduating third in her class and then joined Ray at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia.

        After living as an Army wife and giving birth to their first daughter, Vickie, she moved back to Flora and began traveling and singing with her husband in the mid-1950s.  For 15 years she and Ray traveled full-time all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico in Southern Gospel music as The Crusaders of Illinois.  It is no surprise that Dolores became known as “the Lady with the Million Dollar Smile”!  Along with Ray and Dolores their group included Dolores’ sister Mary Ann and brother Jim and the “Singing Midget” Lowell Mason, who sang bass. They were a hit everywhere they sang, with their unique blend of harmonies, song selections and spirited presentation complete with live instruments. Dolores played the tenor sax.  An early highlight of their singing career was when they garnered the coveted Amateur Award at the National Quartet Convention in Memphis, Tennessee.  They began performing not only in small churches but major auditoriums with such names as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (Trigger, too), Bill Gaither, The Blackwood Brothers, The Statesmen Quartet, The Oak Ridge Boys, Cecil Todd of Revival Fires and more.  One highlight for Dolores was performing at the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962.  She and the group recorded in studios from Chino, California, to Indianapolis, Indiana, to Atlanta, Georgia, releasing five LP albums during that time. 

      After making many contacts during their travels, Ray and Dolores desired to help others record and produce albums in a Christian setting, so the vision of Crusade Enterprises Recording Studios was born and established in the mid-1960s.  They facilitated the entire process from recording through to the final project (recording, artwork, printing, album jacket assembly and shipment) all done on site.  Many singers and musicians from all over North America recorded at Crusade during 50 plus years, where they were greeted by Dolores who ran the office and finalized all the particulars of each recording project.  For several years, she continued to operate Crusade Enterprises, Inc. after her husband passed with the help of her treasured employees.  Dolores and her husband, along with their youngest daughter Tammy Reneé also traveled and sang as The Ray Harris Trio, releasing one album together, until Tammy Reneé left for college.

      After the unexpected death of their daughter Vickie in 1972, God impressed upon Dolores and Ray to disciple people of all ages, but with a focus on young people.  They started a not-for-profit called New Wine Ministries, which is still in existence today, and purchased a downtown building they named New Wine Christian Center where weekly meetings and special services were held.  It was a huge labor of love, and they even bought a bus to transport youth from all over their community to and from the events.  Dolores focused on the younger children, of which Tammy Reneé was a part.  Dolores and Ray were privileged to have a variety of speakers and singers over the years that included Miss America 1972, Laurel Lea Schaefer, and Nora Lam, who presented them the opportunity to make three trips to Taiwan and other Asian countries.  Shortly after arriving on the island the first time, Typhoon Thelma greeted them.  She and her family and close friend survived unscathed in the eye of the storm with 125 mile an hour winds.  An irreplaceable experience she never forgot was seeing 50,000 people inside an open-air stadium and 50,000 outside in the pouring rain to hear about Jesus.  No matter what country she was in, she made many lifelong friends.

      In her later years, Dolores devoted her time and energies to supporting Tammy Reneé in all her activities and ministry as agent/manager, booking many churches, TV appearances, outdoor venues, and theaters all over the country.  She also served as her traveling companion, wardrobe consultant, sound engineer, recording project manager, biggest fan and great dog sitter for their beloved family toy poodle, Sassy.  She and Tammy Reneé were not only mother and daughter but best friends and a team.  She lived for their traveling adventures together.  As her health and eyesight failed, she still loved to listen to Tammy Reneé read the Bible and pray.

      Dolores confessed faith in Jesus as her Savior at a very early age and it was this deep relationship with Him that sustained her through the tragic death of Vickie, who was only 20 years old and the loss of Ray, who was just 62.

      Dolores was a devoted, compassionate, caring, supportive, and loyal wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend.  She was full of life, energy, joy, and deep love.  She was always warm and welcoming with a beautiful smile that she shared with everyone she met.  Those who knew her truly loved her.  She was genuine in her faith and character.

      She is survived by her daughter Tammy Reneé Harris of Flora and toy poodle, Sugar; 2 sisters: Kathryn (the late Thomas A.) Grogan of Spring, TX, and Mary Ann (the late Del) Harris of Fenton, MO; 4 Nephews: Mike Grogan, Terry Vaughn, Keith Lewis, and Steve Lewis; 2 Nieces: Mary Kay Grogan and Tricia Harris; several great nieces and nephews; and many cherished family and friends.

      She was preceded in death by her husband: Ray Harris; daughter: Victoria Lynn Harris; her parents; 2 sisters: Florene Vaughn and Ruth Lewis; 3 brothers: Paul, Charles, and Jim Vaughn; 1 nephew: Dennis Lewis; and toy poodle, Sassy.

      A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held at 12 noon on Saturday, November 4, 2023, at Frank & Bright Funeral Home in Flora.  Interment will follow in Elmwood Cemetery.  A visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday evening and thirty minutes prior to the ceremony on Saturday at the funeral home.  Memorial donations are suggested to a love fund to assist with expenses and these will be accepted through the funeral home.  Please make checks payable to Love in Action.  To share a condolence or memory, visit: www.frankandbright.com

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Condolences

Terry Igert

October 30th

You have our deepest sympathy and prayers!!!

Gina Douthit

October 30th

Hugs to you Tammy, and the rest of your family. I pray God’s peace, comfort, and guidance. Love ya.

Joe and Karen Anderson

October 30th

What a beautiful tribute to your dear mother. Our thoughts are with you.

Lisa Young Miller

October 30th

Tammy I am deeply sorry for your loss. Praying for the comfort and peace of Jesus to guide you through your grief.

Nancy Dehart

October 30th

Tammy, so sorry to hear about your mom. I have fond memories of working at Crusade Enterprises. What a legacy, she will be missed.

Deb and Matt Kuenstler

October 30th

What a beautiful tribute …. I’m so sorry for your loss … Dolores was beautiful inside and out , loved her … Hugs and love to you Tammy , Pray God will comfort you and give you strength during this very difficult time 🙏🏻❤️

Pat and Steve Henry

October 30th

Prayers be with you

Lisa Erbacher

October 30th

Im so sorry Tammy for the loss of your mother....

Donna (Bowen)Hartke

October 30th

So sorry to hear about your mom.

Mark E. Henson

October 31st

Delores always smiled and made you welcome and glad to be in her presence. She always seemed exuberant and happy. Her love for God was exhibited in her love for her family and people and was so joyous. I always delighted to see Delores and visit with her. My memories of her family are wonderful. Thank you, God, for Delores Harris.

Barb and Bruce Brown

October 31st

We're so sorry to hear of your Mother's passing. You will have many great memories of your family, and there is another Angel singing in God's choir. GOD bless you and you will be in our prayers.

Wayne & Sue Hurliman

October 31st

That was a wonderful tribute to your mother! We are sorry for your loss, but know your mother is at peace in heaven. We will keep you in our prayers.

Sharon and Mike Gray

October 31st

Sorry for your loss. Dolores was a beautiful lady inside and outside. She was always smiling and so friendly to everyone. Prayers of comfort for all the family and friends.

Bud & Linda Martin

October 31st

We are sorry for your loss. Your mother was a beautiful soul. The Ray Harris Trio is alive and well singing in Heaven. Tammy, you are in our thoughts and prayers. Your mother will always be with you in your heart. May God bless you and comfort you as you deal with your loss. RIP Dolores❤️

Barbara Brown

October 31st

Sorry for your loss. Prayers for the family

Barbara and Henry Gill

October 31st

May your Mother’s love and memories forever be in your heart. She was a lovely lady and will be missed by all who knew her. Our sympathy to you at this difficult time.

Debra Gill

October 31st

Tammy Renee, you have my condolences. Your mom was a great person who gave unselfishly to others. I know she’ll be missed.

Libbie Henson- Oakes

October 31st

Tammy, very sorry for your loss.

Lois and Don Walden

October 31st

The lady with the million dollar smile! Dolores Harris was beautiful inside and out! I was very young when I met them and they stayed in our home! I loved them so much and was their fan club president. Wonderful memories! I know that Dolores is now with the Lord she served!

June Hillyard

October 31st

We will never forget the wonderful times we spent together with Dolores and her family over the years. We first met them in 1979 while we were going to China at the same time they were. Sad to see you go but wish I could have seen the smile on your face as you came face to face with Jesus!! ❤️

Cecil Edwards

October 31st

Dolores was much loved! Greatly appreciated her kindness and motherly friendship when I was a teen attending New Wine Christian Center, 50 years ago.

Jack Swank

October 31st

I’m am so sorry on one hand, yet grateful for your mom’s life on earth, and now her eternal life in Heaven on the other. No doubt she’s already put Jesus to work helping her start a new Gospel group. I will never forget her, Sassy and you from your wonderful concerts at Rochester United Methodist. 😊❤️🙏

Huey and Kate Freeman

October 31st

Tammy, our heartfelt prayers for you and your family. It was a joy to meet your Mom,and get to know such a wonderful woman of God.

David Webster

October 31st

Dolores touched my heart as well as Ray the first time we met at Crusade Enterprises. It was a personal experience never to be forgotten as the tape for my sister, Sally, was being so well produced but also while getting to know the family and their stories of faith, hope, and love. Several times over the years, we traveled to hear Tammy perform. Dolores was always there supporting however needed. Ray and Vickie are rejoicing in Heaven with her as well as many others.

November 1st

Tammy. Your precious Mother was a blessing to all who met and knew her. She was so full of the love of God she just glowed and made you so happy just to be around her. Her love for you and little Sassy would take a long time to find the right words to describe it. She will always be remembered by her beautiful smile and sweet personality. Heaven has a new angel to sing in their choir joined by her husband and lovely daughter Vickie. I was so blessed to have known her and enjoyed your singing and her smile that showed how much she loved you and little sassy. May they all be joined again in Heaven. Hugs, Love and Prayers to you dear friend.

Dr. Paul Collins

November 1st

Nancy and I have been honored, privileged and blessed to know Delores and her daughter, Tammy. We were further blessed to have them as overnight guests in our home in Springfield, MO. We extend our genuine love and prayers to Tammy whom we love so very much.

Wanda and Ed Harrell

November 1st

May God comfort and gift you strength as only He can. Your mother was a wonderful loving person. My thoughts are with you and pray God wraps His loving arms around you now and the days ahead. 🙏❤️

Cecil & Linda Todd

November 1st

Tammy, our hearts are heavy for you but we know your sweet mom is now having the time of her life, being reunited with your dad and sister.. One day soon we will all have a great and grand reunion. We love you Tammy and are sorry we cannot be with you on Saturday but our prayers are with you.

Cathy Gibson

November 1st

I dearly loved Dolores. I have known her all my life. She and Ray were our neighbors when I was born, and we have always been in touch to some degree. A true Christian, and wonderful friend. She will be missed. The world is a bit darker without her.

David Overstreet

November 2nd

She was one in a million. lovely, kind, compassionate, helpful. Had so many good times with her and Ray while recording at Crusade. Prayers and Love for you Tammy and Blessings in all your endeavors

Donna "White" Hall

November 3rd

So sorry for your loss. One of my memories of your mom was when Grandpa Wendell was in the hospital right before he passed away. When I went into the hospital room to see him for the last time, she was so sweet to me. Praying for you.

Russ and Laura Moats

November 3rd

May the Love of God comfort you at this time. You Mom was Beautiful lady

Rick & Debbie Leininger

November 4th

Delores was an amazing woman who shined the light of Jesus to all she knew. We have fond memories of her, Ray, and Tammy that go back all the way to the Clay City Fair pageants in the 70s. We are praying for you, Tammy.

Sam & Ramona (Behnke) Anderson

November 4th

Tammy We are so sorry for the loss of your mother. Your mother was a sister to my Aunt Katherine. Aunt Katherine was married to my Uncle Allan Grogan. Sending our heartfelt sympathy.

roger & sharie mobley

November 8th

sincere condolences to you, Tammy Renee. We know you will miss her everyday. Her goodness and Christlikeness affected people all over this nation and even parts of the world. You are in our prayers. We know no other young lady who said goodbye to her entire family. But it's not really goodbye, it's "See y'all later".

Terry Vaughn

November 15th

Dolores was my aunt. She was always so sweet to me. I could hear my grandmother in her sweet voice. I will miss her greatly. My love always.

 

Candles

Steve Lewis
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So sorry for the loss of your Mother. Thoughts and prayers ❤️
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Frank & Bright Funeral Home
and Cremation Services

500 North Main Street
Flora, Illinois 62839

Phone : (618) 662-2141
Fax: (618) 662-4600
Email: [email protected]

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