Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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November 30, 2012

Irene Catherine Finney Harris

BLUEFIELD — Irene Catherine Finney Harris, 84, of Bluefield, W.Va., died peacefully Sunday afternoon, Nov. 25, 2012 in Bluefield Regional Medical Center after a long illness. Born Sept. 18, 1928 in Jenkinjones, W.Va., she was the daughter of the late Profit “Britt” Finney and Essie Scott Finney.

Irene was one of the first African Americans to be employed in the Kroger Company in Bluefield, W.Va. She retired from Kroger Company after 25 years of service, where she gained many lifetime friends not just customers. She was also a kindergarten teacher prior to her employment at Kroger. Irene was very proud to help break the color barrier in Bluefield.

Irene was a long time and very active member of John Stewart United Methodist Church (JSUMC) where she served as a member of the Trustee Board, Finance Committee, Usher Board, Church Council and many other Committees of (JSUMC). Irene was always available for any activities at the church and community. She loved people and people loved her throughout the community. She was a Certified Lay Speaker in the West Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church. She was very active on the Conference level for the Methodist Church. She served on the West Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and as president and vice president of the Conference United Methodist Women, the District United Methodist Women, the former Beckley District United Methodist Women, and the local United Methodist Women at JSUMC. She participated in The United Methodist Church General Board of Global Ministries Women's Division. She traveled extensively with the United Methodist Women. She always loved saying she had almost been in all 50 states with the United Methodist Women. Irene always enjoyed going to the Methodist Conference where she was lay member to Annual Conference and was very active on the conference floor. She served as an Usher for the Annual Conference for many years.

Irene was a member of the Bluefield Beautification Committee for years. She was a Girl Scout Leader where she led many girls through the process of growing from Brownies to Senior and even adult scouts. She was active in camping and may other scouting actives, and received a Lifetime membership Certificate of the Girl Scout Movement in the United States in 1991.

Irene was very active in anything she did until the onset of her illness in 2008.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her loving husband, Houston of 61 years on Sept. 27, 2012; two sisters: Earsley “Duck” Finney of Washington, DC, and Virginia “Jenny” Finney Scott of Yonkers, N.Y.; brothers-in-law, Matthew Jerry Whittaker Sr. of Columbia, Md., Arthur Scott of Yonkers, N.Y. and David Harding of Maitland, Fla. in addition to many other cousins, aunts, and uncles, etc.

She is survived by her loving daughters, Yvonne W. Harris of the home and Yvette W. Harris of Ontario, Calif.; her beloved granddaughter, Britt Houston Harris of Ontario, Calif.; special son, Toan Q. Tran of Anaheim, Calif.; sisters, Willa Harding of Maitland, Fla., Annie “Gypie” (Bobby) Davis of White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Oneida “Bubba” (Joe) Maxwell of Atlanta, Ga., Angeline “Angie” Whittaker of Columbia, Md., and two brothers, Profit “June” (Juanita) Finney of Middleton, Del. and Ronald (Joyce) Finney of Bluefield, W.Va. and a host of nieces and nephews, loving friend, Frances H. Powers, and her loving always attentive care givers, Rosemary Wiles and Vonda Gay Conner.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 at John Stewart United Methodist Church, 102 Jones Street, Bluefield, WV 24701 with the Rev. Dr. Felica Wooten Williams officiating. Friend may call during visitation, scheduled from 11:00 a.m. until the time of service. Entombment will follow at the Restlawn Memorial Gardens on Littlesburg Road.

Richardson Funeral Home of Bluefield is handling the arrangements.

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