College loses an original leader
Thelma Margaret Harris of Marshallberg grew up in sight of the Cape Lookout lighthouse on Core Sound. In 1955, she came to Johnston County straight out of East Carolina University to teach social studies at Four Oaks High School. She taught her classes with an enthusiasm that many of her former students have not forgotten.
In 1969, Thelma Harris became the first librarian for brand-new Johnston Technical Institute, originally housed in the old Forest Hills School in Four Oaks. JTI later moved to its present campus outside of Smithfield and changed its name to Johnston Community College. Miss Harris became director of the Learning Resources Center and Library.
As a member of Johnston Community College’s administration, she always understood the school’s vital mission of providing educational opportunities for Johnston County’s people.
Miss Harris worked at JCC for 29 years. Her office in the library was an unofficial “faculty club” for the staff of the school, and she was a cheerful, generous leader and friend to hundreds of students and employees.
She died in Carteret County on July 14. She was 80 years old.
Thelma Harris will be missed by many Johnston County friends. Johnston Community College, now in its 44th year of preparing students for useful careers, has lost one of its original leaders.
Julia A. McCullers
The writer served on the Johnston Community College faculty from 1982 to 1997.