COOPERSTOWN _ Thomas Michael Harris, age 44, of Middlefield, died unexpectedly Wednesday evening, June 13, 2012, in Cooperstown. He was born March 24, 1968, at Chenango Memorial Hospital in Norwich, the youngest child of William J. Harris Jr. and Barbara (Cox) Harris.
In 1973, Tom and his family moved to Cooperstown, where he was raised and attended school. A graduate of Cooperstown Central School, Class of 1988, he was involved in various activities throughout his high school years. Most especially, he enjoyed serving as the manager for the Cooperstown Central School Varsity Football Team. He later received an associate degree through Herkimer County Community College.
For most of Tom’s life, he was a resident of the Cooperstown area and was employed in several capacities over the years, including jobs at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Stewart’s, and as a dispatcher for Otsego County. Since October 2005, Tom has served as a shuttle bus driver for Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown.
In his leisure, Tom — who was also called “Troll” — enjoyed the outdoors, most especially hunting, fishing, and playing golf. For a time he also followed NASCAR. He faithfully served his community for 15 years as a member of Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 2 in Hartwick Seminary, and was currently the Department’s Safety Officer.
On June 14, he was posthumously made a Life Member of the Department. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and community.
Tom is survived by his mother, Barbara C. Harris,of Cooperstown; six sisters, Donna Kemp and husband, Steve, of LaCrosse, Wis., Denna Gorden and husband, Patrick (Tex), of Maryland, Darlene Bennett and husband, Walter, of Fly Creek, Janet Snyder and husband, Jack, of Fly Creek, Martha Harris of Cooperstown, and Margaret Hunt and husband, Dale, of South New Berlin; three brothers, Joseph Harris and wife, Jean, of Middlefield, John Harris and wife, Karen, of Schenevus, and Andrew Harris and wife, Karen, of Salem, Wis.; and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Tom was preceded in death by his father, William J. Harris Jr., who died Sept. 10, 1997; and his beloved canine companion, Mich, a black lab that was a significant part of his life.
Friends paid their respects from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, June 18, 2012, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut St., Cooperstown, when Tom’s family was in attendance.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown, with Fr. John P. Rosson, pastor, officiating. The Service of Committal and Burial followed in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Index, where Tom was laid to rest near his father.
As a tribute to their brother fireman, members of Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 2, Hartwick Seminary, served as his pallbearers.
They also brought all of their fire trucks and vehicles to his funeral, and carried Tom’s casket to the church and the cemetery in their Dodge Ram brush truck. At the cemetery, they conducted the Bell Ceremony, and as a final tribute to their fallen comrade, the Final Alarm was rendered by the sounding of the Fire Department’s siren.
At the request of the family, it is requested that flowers be omitted, and memorial gifts be directed to the Cooperstown Emergency Squad, P.O. Box 322, Cooperstown, NY 13326 or Hartwick Fire Department Co. No. 2, 4877 State Highway 28, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Arrangements were under the guidance of Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.