Britta Borgeson Harris passed away peacefully Friday (Nov. 30, 2018) at her home in Lincoln.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Thomas Murray Harris, who died on Sept. 18, 2018, and her eldest daughter, Janet Jorgine Harris, in 1974.
She is survived by her children, Jean (Doug) Brown, LaGrange; Dr. John (Tamara) Harris, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; Julie Larson, Lincoln; Thomas (Regina) Harris Jr., Lincoln; and 12 grandchildren, Renee Brown, Andrew Brown, Phillip Brown, Janet Brown, Savannah Harris, John Harris Jr., Genevieve (Nathan) Neal, Britta (Kyle) Venstrom, Christina Larson, Thomas Harris III, Katherine Harris and Dean Harris.
Britta was born Oct. 11, 1927, in Chicago, the only child of Hilma and Harold Borgeson. She graduated from Carl Schurz High School in Chicago in 1945, and Northwestern University in 1949, where she studied political science. In 1975, Britta earned a master's degree in public administration from the University of Illinois. She earned a second master's degree in legal studies from Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois at Springfield) in 1979.
Britta and Tom Harris were married on April 15, 1950, and moved to Lincoln, where they raised their five children. Tom practiced law for 63 years with the Lincoln law firm of Harris and Harris. Britta taught political science at Lincoln College. She also worked for the Center for Legal Studies at Sangamon State University as a legal researcher and helped develop the school's paralegal program. She authored grant proposals as well as numerous articles on elder abuse and the transportation needs of seniors.
Britta worked to improve the Logan County community in innumerable ways. She served as president of the Logan County League of Women Voters, Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital board trustee, Abraham Lincoln Health Care Foundation board member, and Community College Task Force member (which worked to establish the Heartland Community College District). She was appointed by Gov. James Thompson to the Illinois Counsel on Aging and was an appointed member of the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission.
Britta served as chairman of the Logan County Senior Citizens Center Committee, where she obtained federal funding for the establishment of Lincoln's Oasis Senior Citizen Center, and later served as its project director. She also served on the boards of the Union Cemetery Association and Chester-East Lincoln School, was a charter member of the Logan County Mental Health Association, and was active in the First United Methodist Church of Lincoln.
Britta and Tom lived outside of Lincoln, where they built their family's home and Britta created gardens and an oasis of greenery. She filled her life with all things beautiful in nature. When Britta wasn't reading or writing, or researching family genealogy, she was outside working. She instilled in her children an intellectual curiosity, and by her example, taught them to value family above all else. Her grandchildren loved and revered her.
Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church of Lincoln. Funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the church with The Rev. Michael Paulson officiating. Burial will be in the New Union Cemetery, Lincoln.
Memorials may be made to the Janet Harris Memorial Scholarship Fund at Lincoln College, the Oasis Senior Citizen Center or Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital.
Final arrangements are entrusted with Peasley Funeral Home of Lincoln.