Michael Har­ris

The Jewish Chronicle - - OBITUARIES -

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

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