Willie Bruce Harris, country singer, songwriter and recording artist passed away on July 12, 2018 after a long illness, surrounded by his family. Willie was born in Rison, Arkansas on March 13, 1933, to the late George and Katie Harris. He served his country in the US Navy from 1952-1956. While stationed in Astoria, Oregon he met his wife of 56 years, Charmone. They moved to Manteca, CA in 1964, where he resided and raised his family.
Mr. Harris is preceded in death by his wife, Charmone, brothers, James, Joseph, George and Paul Harris, and sister, Margaret Nowlen. Willie is survived by his loving children, Ronald Hams and Starla Houston, both of Manteca. He was blessed with two beautiful granddaughters, Lindsay Stayner and Kaitlyn Houston of Manteca.
He worked for the civil service at Sharpe Army Depot in Lathrop, CA for 33 years. His love of music started at age 13 and he eventually started his first country band, The Stringbusters in 1960. He renamed his band, Willie Harris and the Stringbusters, as he was more commonly known throughout his career. He cut his first record with Big Tyme Records in 1973, later starting his own record label, “Starla Records”, named after his daughter who shared his love of music and performed with him at many special events. His music has been played locally, nationally and internationally since that time. He recorded several Top Ten hits, rising to No. 1 on the charts with “No Matter What” in 2004.
He was proud of having a family and playing his music in the community that he so loved. He played at many large venues at the height of his career and in the latter part of his career, he played at smaller events/venues such as Manteca Pumpkin Fair, Manteca Senior Center and numerous care homes within the tri-county area. He was inducted into the Sacramento Western Swing Hall of Fame, the Traditional Country Hall of Fame and nominated to the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame. He performed alongside several famous recording artists in California and Nashville.
P.L. Fry & Son is honored to be serving the Harris Family. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 21, 2018, at 12:00 p.m. at P.L. Fry and Son Chapel, 290 N. Union Rd., Manteca, CA. Burial will be held on Monday, July 23, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. at Park View Cemetery, 3661 East French Camp Road, Manteca. The family wishes to thank the community for the love and support of his music throughout his life.
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Wednesday, July 18, 2018