“Billie” Ruth Jean (Hagemeier, Ferris) Harrison 1927-2020
Faith in Jesus was her rock, and the core of her being.
While attending what became, Southern Nazarene University, she met and married, Paul Hagemeier. After seminary, they pastored churches in Topeka, KS, La Habra, CA, and La Palma, CA. It seems to me that the happiest time of my mother’s life was as a pastor’s wife. The shoe fit and she wore it well. She had a ministry, also. Through the years, people have contacted me to ask about her and tell me how she touched their lives, gave them encouragement, took them to Sunday School, or led them to her Lord.
She endured many heartaches in her life; Nathan’s struggles with Down’s Syndrome, the loss of her first and second husbands, and the loss of her son, Nathan. She accepted the long battle with dementia as part of her life. However, she was resilient; she carried on.
Several years after my father's untimely death she married Robert Ferris, a widowed, math professor from Redlands, CA. They moved to Bethany, OK and were enthusiastically involved with SNU where he taught math and she directed the Career Center until Bob succumbed to cancer. Later, she met and married Charles Harrison, of Lakeland, Florida, a retired communications professor with whom she enjoyed years of travel and family visits.
Billie was optimistic and enjoyed life. When most memories were gone, her sense of humor continued, and I was blessed to be able to laugh with her, often.
My mother had many facets. She gave readings, painted, wrote poems and her memoirs, enjoyed entertaining, and loved to shop. I will miss her.
I was amazed by her strength and perseverance. After my father died suddenly of a heart attack, she continued working at the Nazarene Credit Union, and worked with 5 year old Nathan before and after his preschool. When pancreatic cancer disabled Bob, she cared for him in their home until he went to his Heavenly Father. After each heartbreak, she picked up the pieces and moved on. As her dementia progressed, she accepted it. I never heard her lament her condition.
My favorite memories include her cooking spaghetti dinners for my school friends so that they’d go to church with me. When our children were young, she helped them fill the little red wagon with rocks to fill in dips in the dirt road to our home in Hood River. More than once, the two of us were still in Macy's dressing room when they were turning off the lights. During our road trips, she would read crossword clues aloud so Charles and I could brainstorm answers. One had to hustle to keep up with her as she circled the track at the Family Life Center at her beloved Bethany First Church of the Nazarene . She was a social butterfly and thoroughly enjoyed gatherings and special occasions.
Ruth was tenth, of eleven children, and the last to leave this earth. She was preceded in death by her husband and father of her children, Paul Hagemeier, her second husband, Robert Ferris, and her son, Nathan Hagemeier.
She and Charles Harrison, were married 23 years at the time of her passing.
She is also survived by her daughter, Janet Buckner, and son-in-law, Lindsay and their 4 children: Julia Massey (Kevin), Kimberly Buckner, Courtney Lindsey (James), Jonathan Buckner, and six great grandchildren.
Remembrances can be made to The Billie Hagemeier Ferris Harrison Ministerial Scholarship Endowment or The Billie and Bob Ferris General Scholarship Endowment, both at Southern Nazarene University.
To plant a tree in memory of Ruth Jean (Owens) Harrison, please visit our tribute store.