Dr. Herbert Curlee Harris, who ran a successful dental practice in Chicago for more than 40 years died on March 29, in Chicago.
The son of Lillie Maude Tucker Harris and Emanuel Mason Harris, he was born on February 4, 1928 in Tucker, Arkansas. The Arkansas native distinguished himself in both academics and athletics as an undergraduate at Arkansas A.M. & N College, now known as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB).
After serving as a sergeant in the Armed Forces during the Korean War, he continued his studies at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. He earned his D.D.S. degree in 1959. Harris completed an internship in Oral Surgery at Harlem Hospital in New York City, New York, where he received a professional diploma in 1960. He subsequently earned a Master of Public Health degree in 1976 from the University of Illinois, in Chicago.
In addition to a distinguished medical career, Harris is credited as a major contributor to training and supporting numerous physicians in multiple areas of practice. He was the founder and CEO of the former Daniel Hale Williams Health Center, and president of the Lincoln Dental Society.
Harris served on the Board of Trustees and as President of the National Alumni Association for Meharry Medical College. Socially conscious, and active in the community, Harris was a lifetime member of the NAACP.
While managing his medical businesses, Harris was known as a shrewd entrepreneur and was the proprietor of the Chatham Avalon Health Center, one of the largest Black-owned Medical Centers in Chicago. Other business interests included real estate investments in Chicago and in Freeport, Bahamas.
He is listed in Who’s Who in America and received the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Legacy Award in 2017. Throughout his career he received additional honors and awards for his generous contributions of time and money to his undergraduate alma mater UAPB, Meharry Medical College and to the Chicagoland community at large.
He held membership in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the Lambs Club, the Original Forty Club, the National Dental Association, the American Public Health Association and other organizations.
Harris is survived by his wife of 60 years, Dr. Mildred C. Harris (of God First Ministries), and his family.
His legacy lives on in the lives of his many nieces and nephews, and the numerous scholarship recipients throughout the nation in whom he invested.
Funeral services for Dr. Herbert C. Harris were held on April 12 at Cosmopolitan Community Church, 5249 South Wabash. He is buried at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be mailed to:
The Drs. Herbert C. and Mildred Harris Endowed Scholarship
c/o The Meharry National Alumni Association, Inc.
1005 Dr. D. B. Todd, Jr. Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37208
Attention: Dr. Henry A. Moses