Jean Thomson Harris

Other names: 
Maiden name, Jean Thomson
Born 8 Nov. 1881, died 9 Nov. 1963

Jean Thomson Harris was born in Edinburgh, the daughter of Anne Youngson, from Peterhead, and John Thomson, furniture packer, from Logiepert, Forfarshire. The family were living in Cumberland Street when Jean was born, and continued to live there until 1892 when they rented a flat in the newly built Comely Bank Avenue. Following her school education, Jean worked for a time as a lady’s maid for several well known families in the city. She and some other members of the family left Scotland and settled in North America. It was in Chicago that Jean met Paul Harris whom she married in 1910. They named their house in Chicago ‘Comely Bank’ in honour of Jean’s Scottish family home.
Paul Harris was founder of Rotary, and Jean became a member of the Inner Wheel, being made an honorary member of the Inner Wheel Club of Edinburgh in 1946. She gave much of her time to voluntary work in Chicago, but eight years after her husband’s death she moved back to Edinburgh where she lived a rather solitary and secluded life. She died the day after her 82nd birthday and was buried in Newington cemetery in a grave with her younger brother James and close to other members of the Thomson family.

An article written by Ed Lucas - The Rotary Club of Edinburgh