William Ray Harkins

Dec 14, 2012

Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather

CANTON — William Ray Harkins, 85, better known as “Bill,” passed away Dec. 13, after several years of declining health.

Born in 1928, he was the son of the late Lloyd Harkins and Blanche Green Harkins Rhodarmer.  The brothers and sisters who passed before him were Helen H. Miller, Robert, Carl, Wiley, Dewey and Paul Harkins.  He is survived by one sister, Margaret H. Burrus, of Canton.

His surviving family members include his loving wife of 61 years, Thomasine Paxton Harkins; his daughters, Lynn Hollifield, and her husband, Leonard, of Asheville, and Beth Ingersoll, and her husband, Jeff, of Candler.  His surviving sons are Roger Harkins, of Clyde, and Gary Harkins, of Canton.

The joys of his life were his grandsons, Cody Harkins, of Clyde, Michael Slaughter, of Berea, Kentucky, and Aaron and Eli Ingersoll, of Candler.

He is also survived by his sisters-in-law, Rubye Harkins, Joyce Harkins and Ruth Harkins, of Canton, and Adele Harkins, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

He was a graduate of Canton High School and served in the Pacific theater with the U.S. Navy aboard a rocket ship in World War II.  He retired from Champion International in 1990, after 35 years of service.  He was a very active and well-known member of West Canton Baptist Church. He served for decades on the church benevolence committee and rarely missed a service in 40 years, until his health prevented him from attending.

He had a passion for fixing things, helping people and working on cars.  His favorite pastime was tinkering in his garage and rescuing people with broken down vehicles.  He never charged the market rate for mechanical work. If you were short on funds, the car was still repaired and payment was not an issue.

His big smile, his generous heart, and his sweet whistling will be missed by all who knew him.  He loved his coffee, so remember Bill next time you have a cup.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m.Sunday, Dec. 16,  in the Canton Chapel of Wells Funeral Home with the Revs. George Holley and Steve Frazier officiating.  Burial will follow at Bon-A-Venture Cemetery on Old Clyde Road.  The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the New Building Fund at West Canton Baptist Church, 75 Lowe St., Canton, NC  28716.

For those who desire, an online memorial register is available at www.wellsfuneralhome.com.