Bethel University community mourns loss of longtime security chief

McKENZIE, Tenn. — A local university’a staff and students are mourning one of their own.

James Arthur Harris, 60, served as Bethel University’s chief of security for 13 years, but many who knew him say he was more than just an officer.

“He always had a smile on his face, and surprisingly he would know just about every student by name,” Bethel University President Walter Butler said.

Butler says Harris died unexpectedly Thursday of unknown causes.

“Many of us had seen him the day before, and it seemed like everything was fine,” Butler said.

Butler says Harris was well known on campus. He says many students considered him a friend.

“On Christmas and holidays, some students couldn’t go home, so he would make sure that they had places to eat,” Butler said.

Lisa Norris worked with Harris at the Carroll County Juvenile Court. She says Harris previously served the community as a DARE officer in Huntingdon.

“He lived a life we should all try to strive for,”  “He was a Christian, and I think he would want people to know that about him.”

Butler says the loss is a blow for the university but that Harris’ memory will live on at Bethel. “Everybody would say the same thing — there’s nobody that cares more for people then James Arthur Harris.”

Harris’s funeral was held Monday afternoon at Bethel University.

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