Doris Marie Harris
Student and Friend
and teacher, Doris Harris, died on Friday, August 19, 2016 after a short
illness. A few days before her sudden
illness, Doris had driven herself to the library to check out her weekly supply
of books to read, she was preparing to participate in an interview for the
Tulsa Historical Society about the history of china painting in Tulsa, and she was
working as a bookkeeper and tax consultant for a small electrical firm. She was concerned that she was having a
problem with “unsteadiness” so she was planning to shop for a piece of exercise
equipment that would strengthen her legs.
She lived life to the fullest and was an excellent artist, teacher and
born in Tulsa, OK. She married E.D. Harris “Harry” in 1944. Harry was an electrician and they spent
several years living in various states” following the work”. They eventually settled back in Tulsa with their two
children, Barbara and Bob. Doris
credits her mother who lived in Duncan,
OK for her start in china
painting. Her mother owned a weight loss
business and created beautiful ceramic flowers which she painted with china
paint and sold in her studio.
her mother to Tulsa
in the early 70’s. In order to help her find friends in her new city she
enrolled both of them in china painting classes at the Taylor & Oxford China Shop in Brookside. Doris and her mother bought a kiln together
and Doris started on her mission to learn
china painting. She took two lessons a
week from Hazel Schwerring and one per week from Sue Heath.
husband became ill with cancer and they had a very difficult two years while he
was undergoing treatment at the University
Hospital in Oklahoma City. She described this as one of the most
difficult times in her life. Her husband
died in 1968. She needed to increase
her income so she took a real estate course and sold real estate in addition to
working as an office manger for an electrical company.
She had an
opportunity in 1979 to open a china shop, “The China Cabinet”. She had two excellent teachers, Nadine King
and Hazel Schwerring who taught china painting in her shop. Her shop was always busy with classes and activities
but Doris learned “you can’t make a living in
a china shop” so she closed her shop in 1987, but continued to teach at city
parks and Hobby Lobby and to work in, and promote china painting.
She became involved with the
Oklahoma World Organization of China Painters (an international organization
for china painters, headquartered in Oklahoma
City) and became acquainted with its founder, Pauline
Salyer, She started attending and working in the conventions and participating
in the organization. In 1987-88 she was
the State President and coordinated the largest china painting convention ever
held in Tulsa.
She saw a need to have an evening
club to meet the needs of working women so she sought the advice of her friend,
Pauline Salyer, who said “if you feed them, they’ll come”. She prepared her now famous “Chicken
Cornbread Casserole” and 45 people came to the first meeting of the “Oil
Capital China Painters”. This was the
largest number to be chartered into a club in the world. In 2007 she received the Pauline Salyer
award, the highest honor bestowed by the Oklahoma WOCP, for outstanding service
to the organization. She served the local, state, and national organization in
numerous offices and capacities over the years.
Virtually all of the Tulsa
china painters considered her their mentor.
is survived by her daughter, Barbara Williams and husband Ed, son, Bob Harris,
her granddaughters Jill and husband Shad, Ivy and husband Kevin and 2
great-grandsons and a great-granddaughter. .
The family requests memorial
donations be made to the American Diabetes Association or the World
Organization of China Painters.