William Lee “Bill” Harris, affectionately known as Coach, passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 with his family by his side. The younger of two sons of William and Gertrude Harris, Bill was born on March 22, 1951 in Lancaster, Ohio where he spent his formative years.
He graduated from Lancaster High School where his love of football was nurtured. Following high school he attended and played football at Wooster College in Wooster, OH, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Education and started his teaching and coaching career which spanned 42 years, earning him the nickname Coach. A coaching position at USL (now ULL) brought Bill to Louisiana which led him to Patterson for his first Head Football Coach / Athletic Director job at Patterson High School from 1983-1986. He then moved to Tennessee and coached at Warren County High School from 1986-1991, and then Georgia where he was Head Coach of several schools in Dekalb County from 1991-2007. 2007 brought about Bill’s return to Louisiana, once again teaching and coaching at Patterson High School, where he then coached many of the sons of his former players. In 2012 he took a coaching position at Central Catholic in Morgan City until retiring in 2015. He was proud of furthering his education to receive his Master’s Degree and Education Specialist Degree, all the while coaching across multiple states.
Retirement permitted Bill to slow life’s hectic pace, allowing him to develop a love for working in his yard as well as cooking, of which he was proud to be the “Head Chef” of the house. He also enjoyed casino trips to play the slots and especially loved playing with his beloved Sheltie, Gator.
Those he leaves to cherish his memory include his wife of 38 years, Nina Morella Harris; his brother, Ken Harris and his wife Becky; two brothers-in-law, Joe Morella and his wife Debby and Vince Morella and his wife Sheree; his uncle, Don Funk; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, William T. Harris Jr.; his mother, Gertrude Funk Harris Hale; and his in-laws, Sam Morella and Mary Lena Cutrera Morella.
A gathering of family and friends will be held Monday, April 19, 2021, at Ibert’s Mortuary in Patterson from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m., with a eulogy given by Garrett Grogan, one of his former students, followed by the funeral service, led by Father Herb Bennerfield. In keeping with Bill’s wishes, following the services he will be cremated with a private inurnment in the St. Joseph Cemetery Mausoleum.
The family extends their deepest gratitude to the staff of Heart of Hospice – Bayou Region and to his caregivers, Chassidy Bailey and Tempest Jackson.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that contributions be made in Bill’s name to the American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org, 1-800-227-2345.
Family and friends may view the obituary online by visiting www.iberts.com and are encouraged to share their condolences, cherished memories, love, and support for the family.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ibert’s Mortuary, Inc., 1111 Lia Street, Patterson, LA 70392, (985) 395-7873.