Clara Elizabeth Ownbey Harris

clara harris

May 12, 1927 ~ December 4, 2023

Born in: Asheville, NC
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Clara Elizabeth Ownbey Harris, 96, of Asheville, NC, went to be with her Lord on December 4, 2023. She was born on May 12, 1927 in Asheville to Oliver and Mary Ownbey. Clara was preceded in death by her husband, Porter “Shorty” Harris, her parents, brothers, Herbert (sister-in-law, Charlene) of Asheville and David Ownbey of Biloxi, MS, and her sister-in-law, Johnnie Ownbey of Spartanburg, SC.

Clara was a graduate of Grace High School and Cecil’s Business College. She worked for Carolina Power & Light Company prior to her marriage to “Shorty” on February 19, 1949. Clara was an active member of Abernethy United Methodist Church for over 70 years, serving her Lord as a Sunday school teacher, leader of the United Methodist Women, supporting Abernethy’s B.E.A.R. Closet and actively working with the Prayer Quilt Ministry. She also served on the Board of Trustees at Brooks-Howell Home. Her contributions to God’s Kingdom on earth are too numerous to list.

Clara is survived by brothers Frank Ownbey of Spartanburg, SC, and Joe Ownbey (Judy) of Pisgah Forest, NC; by her sister-in-law, Cathie Ownbey, of Biloxi, MS; by her children, Stephen Harris (Myrna) of Asheville, and Portia Gajewski (Robert) of Mill Spring, NC. She also leaves six grandchildren, Dr. Jennifer Corrine Harris Wessman (Brian) of St. Louis, MO; Ryan Eli Harris of Portland, OR; Matthew Stephen Harris of St. Louis; Megan Alicia Gajewski Barnhill (Richard) of Arlington, VA; Philip Andrew Gajewski (Emily) of Charleston, SC; and Katie Marie Gajewski Sweeney (Dan) of Charleston, SC. Clara is also survived by six great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at 2:00 p.m., at Abernethy United Methodist Church, 1418 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC, with Reverend Dianne Johnston officiating. The family will receive friends following the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Abernethy United Methodist Church or the charity of choice.

Groce Funeral Home on Patton Avenue is assisting the family.


Memorial Service: January 13, 2024 2:00 pm

Abernethy United Methodist Church
1418 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28806

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  1. We are so sorry for the late as of your dear Mother, Clara. Sending you both love and prayers. May your memories comfort you. Steve and Myrna you have been such a wonderful son and daughter in law. ❤️

  2. David and I were so saddened to hear of Clara’s passing. She and Shorty were very dear to us. My goodness, what wonderful rejoicing there must be in heaven with Shorty and Clara reunited to praise their risen Lord together.

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