By: Nekoro Gomes
Thomas Jay Harris, former editor of the Lubbock (Tex.) Avalanche-Journal, died Sunday morning in a Lubbock hospital. Harris, who was 87, died after developing pneumonia following a hip replacement surgery.
Harris’ career at the Avalanche-Journal began in 1938 as a sports writer for the daily while in college at Texas Tech University. After serving in the Air Force during World War II, Harris returned to the Avalanche-Journal as the managing editor of its morning edition.
Harris was appointed editor of the paper in 1972 and served in this role until 1994, when he retired. Colleagues and fellow editors remember Harris as a man with excellent news judgment who spearheaded the use of color photography during the 1960s, well before other Texan newspapers.
Local citizens and politicians also remember Harris as a tireless city advocate and Rotary Club member who helped to bring several important government projects to his hometown.
Harris fostered a deep love of international affairs and cultures as well. The small-town editor included foreign heads of state among his circle of personal friends and was instrumental in getting an International Cultural Center built at Texas Tech University.
Harris is survived by a sister, Georgia Marguerite Harris.