Julian “Butch” A. Harris Jr. (October 1, 1948 - November 29, 2021)
This is not Julian “Butch” A. Harris Jr.’s obituary. He hand wrote his own obituary, but it couldn’t be found ahead of his service. Therefore, we ask that you please indulge his family in a brief celebration of Julian’s life - a life that was well lived and fought for until his final breath with his wife of 46 years and his son at his side.
As the son of a railroad dining car attendant and a nurse, Julian had a huge and caring heart. Each day he set out to try to make at least one person smile and he did. His great sense of humor kept people laughing even when he knew he didn’t have long to live. A hospice nurse who claimed to be his favorite got a deadpan response of: “You lie.” And when he asked for $10,000 one day and the person he asked wondered what he would do with it, he responded: “Classified.”
You see, Julian always chose life and laughter, followed his passions and set out to help others. And when he set out to do something - watch out world. Julian was determined to accomplish it, whether it be collecting license plates from all 50 states or talking on his HAM radios and receiving QSL cards from every county in the United States, totaling more than 3,000.
Being a HAM was a lifelong passion of Julian’s. He was 13-years-old when he first became a HAM and last utilized his FCC Extra Class license in April of this year. He spent hours listening to others and talking to HAMs across the globe. He also enjoyed attending HAM festivals across the South with his wife, Blanca - not to mention being a literal HAM during the road trips. From playing the air guitar to voguing while driving, Julian always made Blanca smile. He always wanted to take care of his bride and told Blanca and his son, Adam, that he would always take care of them and would do as much as he could for as long as he could. He kept his promise.
Speaking of Blanca, Julian fell in love at first sight when he entered the academic affairs office at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, and saw Blanca sitting at her desk there. Even though Blanca had a boyfriend at the time, Julian went after the woman he knew one day would be his wife. After three years of dating, Blanca and Julian married. Their love blossomed and their bond became even stronger during nearly five decades of marriage. Julian continued to bring Blanca flowers - sometimes convincing neighbors to let him prune them from their yards, special rocks he found that he knew Blanca would cherish as much as he did, and taking her on picnic lunches in the park or to breakfast on Sundays. Julian would always remind those he knew to make sure to take care of one other.
A little more than a year after Julian and Blanca married, Adam completed their family. Julian shared his love of biking, flying airplanes and searching out unique treasures with his son. He also taught Adam the importance of accountability and was a supportive and giving father, who wanted the very best for his son. Adam recalls that his father had many accomplishments during his life, but never did anything for recognition or praise. Julian, for example, quietly donated to the Salvation Army and the Red Cross each Christmas.
Julian loved to learn. And he especially enjoyed people. He knew no strangers and enjoyed every chance he got to engage with others, whether the discussion centered on a TV show, a book or something he read about in an article.
This may explain why Julian chose to practice law. After earning his bachelor’s of science degree in electronics engineering at Texas Southern University, Julian went onto law school because he wanted to help people. While in undergraduate and law school at Texas Southern University, Julian worked a variety of jobs, including as an engineer at two Houston television stations - KHOU-TV and KRIV-TV. He also did a co-op program at ExxonMobil and enjoyed sharing how his first day was also later Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson‘s first day at the company.
Once he completed his law degree, Julian shared with Blanca that he wanted to move back home to Pensacola. He got a job at Grice Electronics and then spent three years working at Gulf Power before going to work for the public defender’s office after passing the bar. By 1979, Julian was ready to hang his own shingle and spent more than 40 years practicing family law. As luck would have it, his bride knew a thing or two about office administration and Julian and Blanca worked side-by-side.
Work was an important part of Julian’s life. He used to joke - but meant it in all seriousness - that he first paid taxes when he was 8-years-old. Julian’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to collect bottles from his neighbors as a child and he would then turn the bottles in for a refund. From a very early age, Julian believed in hard work. And work hard he did - a work ethic formed in part by his time in the Boy Scouts where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
But Julian also found balance in following his passions, whether it be sailing, flying or exploring. Blanca and Julian often went on cruises, exploring the coast of South America, the islands of the Pacific and beyond.
Julian’s sense of adventure, love of life and kindness set him apart as someone who truly cared for his fellow man. He will always be remembered and loved by those lucky enough to know such a generous, kind man, who truly knew how to make everyone in his presence smile.
Julian is survived by his wife, Blanca; son, Adam and his girlfriend, Pam; three sisters- and brothers-in-law; four nieces and four nephews. He was preceded in death by his father - Julian A. Harris Sr., mother - Callie V. Harris, and brother - Reuben Harris.
The family invites all who knew Julian to join his celebration of life at 11 a.m. Monday, December 6 at Benboe Funeral Home. The family does request that all in attendance please wear a mask.
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