Madonna Harris, 1927 – 2016

Harris, Madonna 3Funeral services were held Friday, Feb. 12, at St Joseph Catholic Church in Jefferson for Madonna Theressa Harris, 88, of Jefferson.

The Rev Jeff Schleisman, pastor of the church, celebrated Mass of the Resurrection. Rhena Lane was organist and Robert Schwarzkopf was vocalist.

Casket bearers were Patrick O’Brien, Mike Coyne, Adam Coyne, Mark Thomas, John Tiffany and Mike Holden. Interment was at St Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Jefferson.

The Rev Bill Brunner presided at a vigil for the deceased the evening prior to services.

The family was assisted by Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home of Jefferson.

Madonna Coyne Harris was born Nov. 30, 1927 in Carroll, IA, to Andrew and Winifred Moran Coyne.  She spent her early years, along with her older brother Francis, on the family farm near Lohrville.

Just prior to Madonna’s seventh grade year, her family moved to Jefferson.  During her junior and senior high school years, a neighborhood boy, David Harris, often carried her books home from school. Upon high school graduation, Madonna attended Briar Cliff College in Sioux City where she also played violin with the Sioux City Orchestra.  While at Briar Cliff she earned her teaching certification. During the year following graduation, she taught first grade.

On Sept. 4, 1948, K. David Harris and Madonna Coyne were united in marriage at St. Joseph Church in Jefferson.  The couple had three children, Jane, Julie, and Frederick (Rick).  They were blessed with six grandchildren. Nick and Jane Martino are the parents of Jennifer and Laura.  Rick and Jill (Bohnett) are the parents of Michael, Catherine, Maria, and Joseph.  In 2013, Madonna became a great-grandmother with the arrival of John Tiffany and Laura Martino’s daughter, Mary Grace.

Family, education and faith have been the hallmark of Madonna’s life. She dedicated her life to raising her family. She took pride in her home, was an excellent cook and a gracious hostess.  Madonna was committed to seeing her children receive a good education. She tirelessly practiced math facts and spelling lists. She oversaw all homework and music lessons. Madonna joined the ranks of volunteers who led Blue Bird and Campfire groups. She also became a CCD instructor at St. Joseph.

After Madonna and David’s children were raised, Madonna’s activities took a new focus.  She was a substitute teacher for the Greene County schools. She volunteered in the grade school classrooms.  Madonna volunteered to help local adults learn to read and successfully pass their GED exam. Many Greene County residents were coached by Madonna. In 1991 Madonna received the Governor’s Volunteer Award.

For 60 years, Madonna was a loyal member of a local bridge(less) club group.  These ladies gathered weekly to share their lives, faith and gain strength from their loving fellowship.  She was also an active member of P.E.O., Friday Club, Book Club, and a number of other community organizations.

Madonna was called to heaven on February 8, 2016 and was preceded in death by her parents, brother, and husband.

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