Hugh S. Harris, Jr.

Published 4:12 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Nov. 5, 1934 – Jan. 25, 2024

NATCHEZ – Dr. Hugh Smith Harris, Jr. died peacefully at home surrounded by his family in Natchez, MS on Jan. 25, 2024. He was 89.

Son of Hugh Smith Harris, Sr., and Lila Mae Williams Harris, Hugh was born on Nov. 5, 1934. Raised in rural Mississippi, he lived an expansive life marked by excellence, achievement, and service to his community and country.

Email newsletter signup

Hugh graduated as the valedictorian of his high school class prior to attending the University of Mississippi and Harvard Medical School. In 1956, Hugh married his high school sweetheart, Catherine (“Kitty”) Therkildson, and together they embarked on a journey that spanned continents and decades. In between a surgical internship and residency at Barnes Hospital/Washington University in St. Louis, MO, he served in active duty as a Medical Officer and Flight Surgeon at Hahn Air Force Base in Germany and Cannon AFB in New Mexico from 1959 to 1963. He continued his military service in the Missouri Air National Guard for thirty years, rising to the rank of Brigadier General before his retirement in 1992. Hugh was a pillar of the medical community in Columbia, MO, working for 36 years as a general surgeon and surgical oncologist at the Ellis Fischel State Cancer Hospital and Columbia Surgical Associates along with clinical appointments at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Hugh was among a number of physicians who founded Columbia Regional Hospital in 1974. Upon his retirement from medical practice in 2003, he returned to his childhood home outside of Natchez, MS. He was an avid reader and pilot and enjoyed traveling, skiing, and exploring the mountains near Crested Butte, CO.

Hugh was preceded in death by his wife, Kitty, in 2020.

He is survived by his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren: son, David Harris and his wife, Monica Harris, and their children, Madelyn (mother of Ransom and Sterling), David, and Allie; daughter, Susan Harris and her husband, Jeremy Myers and their children, Benjamin and Elizabeth; and son, Michael Harris and his wife, Karen Buck and their daughter, Corinna.  

A celebration of life is tentatively planned for June 2024 at the Natchez National Cemetery. Donations in Hugh’s memory may be made to the Center for the Arts in Crested Butte, CO, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Natchez, MS, or the Harris Breast Center through the Boone Hospital Foundation in Columbia, MO.