Oscar N. Harris, 80, a former two-term State Senator and five-term Mayor of Dunn died suddenly near his home late Tuesday.
Mr. Harris was a respected businessman and civic leader in Dunn. He had served numerous governors working closely with Governor Jim Hunt on the NC Board of Transportation and the NC Economic Development Board. Mr. Harris served as the campaign treasurer for Governor Beverly Eaves Perdue. He was active in the Jaycees, Rotary, Masons, Shriners, the Dunn Area Chamber of Commerce and his church Glad Tiding Assemblies of God. A veteran, Mr. Harris served in the United States Marine Corps.
Former NC Governor Jim Hunt said, “Senator Oscar Harris was one of North Carolina’s most important and effective public leaders. I first learned that when I saw his leadership as Mayor of Dunn and in Harnett County. He got a lot of good things done in education, health care and in bringing jobs to that area. I was honored to appoint him to the North Carolina Board of Transportation and the Economic Development Board. He served admirably in both capacities. And he was one of the top leaders in all of my election campaigns. Carolyn and I send our love and best wishes to his wonderful family.”
Former NC Governor Pat McCrory said Wednesday, “Mayor Harris had a devotion to the City of Dunn and its citizens. I was able to work with Mayor Harris during several weather emergency situations affecting Harnett County and I was always struck by Oscar’s attention to detail and his get-it-done attitude. Mayor Harris was a great leader for his city, our state and our nation. His dedication to public service impacted thousands of people and for that we should all be grateful.”
Former US Congressman Bob Etheridge said Harris was a true friend. “For more than 50 years, Oscar Harris and I had been friends and he was a true friend. Oscar Harris was a man of conviction and was deeply religious. His faith and his commitment to public service meant Oscar was dedicated to serving his fellow man and his community. Oscar Harris had great vision, was a great leader and a great businessman. Oscar had the ability to bring people together to get things done whether it was for his church, for his city, for his state, for his country – Oscar Harris was a faithful citizen.”
Funeral arrangements for Mr. Harris are pending. Services are being handled by Skinner-Smith Funeral Home in Dunn.