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Des Moines

John Lee Harris, Jr., a.k.a. “Buddy”, was born on July 14, 1953 in San Diego, California to John Lee Harris, Sr. and Olive G. Harris. John grew up on the Southeast side of the city, better known as the Southside Bottoms. He was educated in the Des Moines Public School System and graduated from Des Moines Technical High School. While attending high school, he was a star football and basketball player. After graduating high school, John attended Graceland College for Business, where he played football and excelled academically. John enlisted in the Marine Corps in June 1976. While stationed in Camp Pendleton, CA, he received a Good Conduct Medal and became an expert Rifleman. John has always had a passion for knowledge and considered himself a career student. Upon his return home to Des Moines, he pursued his education by attending Grandview University, DMACC, and Drake University - achieving numerous degrees and certificates. One of John’s first professional positions was working for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad as a Conductor/Switchman. He went on to work with the American Cancer Society, where he served as the Distribution Manager. John later worked at the Veteran’s Hospital while using his paralegal experience to help fellow veterans secure their service connected benefits. Always staying busy and ambitious, John was an avid entrepreneur creating businesses in carpentry, painting, and lawn maintenance along with various home improvements.

“Buddy”, as he was affectionately known, was loved by many and loved his friends and family dearly. He was an avid sports fan, following Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bears, and many other teams. His all-time favorite was none other than the Iowa Hawkeyes. Buddy loved Twizzlers and going to Hy-Vee for breakfast. He owned 50 million different durags and hats, always making sure that they coordinated with his outfits. He was a stranger to no one and would stop at nothing to help someone in need. He had a true heart of gold. Buddy’s friends and family lovingly referred to him as the 1-800-Helpline. If you needed advice on anything, you could always ask Buddy. Everyone knew that if you called him, be prepared for a long detailed conversation. Buddy had a nickname for everyone. As a child, Buddy was an expert rock thrower - he loved to skip rocks across the Des Moines River and he was known for throwing rocks places he had no business. He was a connoisseur of music. After returning from the Marine Corps, his love for funk music created a whole new vibe in the Harris household. What brought him the most joy was spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

After a courageous fight with cancer, Buddy was called home to be with the Lord on June 7, 2019 surrounded by family. Buddy was preceded in death by his parents John Lee Harris, Sr. and Olive G. Harris (Jones), brother Edward “Eddie” Harris, son Marion Eugene Harris, and daughter Leachelle Shetworth. Left to cherish all the precious memories are his children: Johnte, John L. III, Arkeya, Arpree, and Jontell, step-children Andre and Carla Brown, siblings: David (Jamie), Rodney (Terri), Marvin (Bonita), Toni, Brian, Tracy (Cara), Frederick, Carla, Robin, Johnetta (Virgil), along with a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, family and friends.

Service Details

Visitation:
Friday, June 14, 2019
6:00 to 8:00 pm
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines
Service:
Saturday, June 15, 2019
11:00 am
Elim Christian Church
525 E 9th Street
Des Moines
Disposition:
Monday, June 17, 2019
10:00 am
Graveside Service with Military Honors
Glendale Cemetery
Des Moines
Arrangements:
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 243-5221

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