Born London, August 8, 1928. Died London, October 30, 2006, aged 78.
A DEDICATED member of the United Synagogue Council for 22 years and of the Board of Deputies for some 48 years, Michael Harris was concerned with young and old.
After serving on several board committees, he ultimately took responsibility for disused cemeteries in the UK. As with everything he did, he took the job seriously and travelled extensively across England to inspect and report.
Michael Harris grew up with his sister, Estelle, in Dollis Hill, where his family were regular shul-goers. Aged 11 at the outbreak of war, he was evacuated to Northampton. He later joined the North West Jewish Boys Club.
He did his two-year national service stint in the RAF and then took a moral leadership course. His professional life was spent with the Commercial Union insurance company.
Always interested in young people, he was chairman and vice-president of the Association of Jewish Youth, chaired the National Association of Boys Clubs, served on the Jewish Youth Fund advisory council and was public relations adviser to Delamere Forest School in Cheshire. He was honorary treasurer of the South London Committee, Sutton AJEX and the National Association of Friendship Clubs.
A member of Sutton and District Synagogue, he served the community for some 44 years, most of that time as a board member. He gave loyal service even after leaving Sutton for North West London only a few years ago.
He was warden at Sutton for four years, and honorary secretary for seven, leading services whenever needed. He also loved a game of bridge and was a genial president of the local Jewish Bridge Group for some 30 years.
He was made a freeman of the City of London in 1976. A man of fine bearing, he was always impeccably dressed, whether for an Armistice Day parade or as bowler-hatted marriage secretary. He was also a man of great dignity, controlling his emotions and putting himself second when he organised the shivah at the tragic death of his teenage son Laurence.
He is survived by his wife, Joan, and daughter, Judith.
Michael Harris (right) with international delegates at a 1990 AJY seminar