By Uvalde-Leader News Staff, August 16, 2020
John H. Harrell Sr., 85, of Uvalde died on Aug. 11, 2020, at Main Methodist Hospital in San Antonio.
Visitation will begin Wednesday at noon at Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary, 220 S. Getty St. A funeral service will take place Thursday at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 301 N. High St, with interment following at Hillcrest Cemetery.
He was born in Houston on Jan. 29, 1935, to Mildred (Wynn) and Dudley Snyder Harrell.
Harrell graduated from Uvalde High School in 1953. He enjoyed playing football, basketball and baseball. He attended Schreiner University from 1953-1955 and transferred to The University of Texas in 1955, graduating in 1957.
He married Phyllis Collier on Oct. 12, 1956, in the chapel at First United Methodist Church in Uvalde.
Harrell began a career in education in the fall of 1957 as a teacher and coach at Alamo Heights Independent School District in San Antonio. He returned to Uvalde in 1960 to teach biology at Uvalde High School. Shortly after returning to Uvalde, Harrell began his career in school administration and in 1992 became superintendent of schools. In 1996, he was named Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards. He served a total of 38 years in education, retiring in May of 2000.
Harrell briefly left the education sector and was self-employed for a few years, operating John Harrell Real Estate. He also worked for Gensco Inc. During these years in the private sector, he also served as a Uvalde City Councilman and Mayor of Uvalde for two terms. In 1992, Harrell was named Uvaldean of the Year by the Uvalde Area Chamber of Commerce.
Upon retirement from serving in education, Harrell was hired by the City of Uvalde to be the city manager in February of 2002 and served until he retired in March of 2010. He once shared that he would serve as city manager for only a couple of years, but somehow that turned into eight.
Harrell was lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church and Rotary Club of Uvalde, and he served on several local boards and committees: Uvalde County Hospital Authority, Uvalde County Appraisal District, St. Henry De Osso, Region 20 Regional Advisory Committee, First United Methodist Church and Uvalde Country Club.
On personal time, Harrell enjoyed spending time with his wife, family holidays and summer vacations with his grandchildren, worship with his Tuesday morning men’s prayer group, morning coffee at the fountain in Rexall Drugstore with friends, and organizing reunions for Uvalde High School Class of 1953.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years; son, John “Hal” H. Harrell, Jr. and wife, Donna, of Uvalde; daughter, Julie Hipp and husband, Richard, of Uvalde; five grandchildren, John Harris Hipp, Kristen Ann Harrell and wife, Jessica, James Richard Hipp and wife, Carly, John “Trey” H. Harrell III and Jay Crawford Hipp; great-grandson Tate Michael Hipp; in-laws, Clarisie Harrell, wife of the late Jimmy Harrell, Bill Collier and wife, Edie, Dwight Collier and wife, Mary Ann, Sharron Carnes and husband, Eddy, Richard Collier and wife, Lee Ann, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and dear friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Jimmy Wynn Harrell and D.S. “Jack” Harrell and wife Jerry.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601; First United Methodist Church of Uvalde, 301 N. High St., Uvalde, TX 78801; El Progreso Memorial Library, 301 W. Main St., Uvalde TX 78801; or St. Henry De Osso Family Project, 114 E. Nopal St., Uvalde, TX 78801.
Pallbearers will be his grandchildren, John Harris Hipp, Kristen Ann Harrell, James Richard Hipp, John “Trey” H. Harrell III, Jay Crawford Hipp; nieces, Ginger Waites and Cindy Wimberley; and nephew, Wayne Harrell. Honorary pallbearers will be nieces and nephews of the Collier and Carnes families and all the citizens of Uvalde.
Services will be live-streamed on the Rushing-Estes-Knowles Facebook page. There is a 100-person maximum capacity in the funeral home and at First United Methodist Church. Both facilities require mourners to follow social distancing guidelines and wear face masks.
Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary, www.rekfunerals.com