In memoriam: Emeritus missionary James Clyde Harless, 78

James(Jim) Harless

James(Jim) Harless

James Clyde Harless (Jim), an emeritus International Mission Board missionary who shared the gospel in Colombia, died November 5, 2019, in Milton, Georgia. He was 78.

Harless was born in Birmingham, Alabama, January 17, 1941. Growing up in a Baptist pastor’s home, Harless looked to his parents for spiritual encouragement and instruction. From an early age, Harless had a desire to serve overseas. His desires were encouraged and fostered by many spiritual influences throughout his young adult life.

Graduating in 1963 from Howard Payne College in Brownwood, Texas, with a B.S. in secondary education and from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana in 1967 with a M.S. in recreation, Harless utilized his degrees in teaching positions in schools and recreational positions in churches. During the summer of 1960, Harless met his future wife, Kay Hairston. They were married in September 1962.

Harless and his wife, Kay, were appointed by the IMB November 5, 1970, 49 years (to the day) before his death. The Harless family spent 35 years serving in Colombia. While there, the Harless family built and opened a camp for the youth in their area. They wanted their camp to be a place of evangelism and encouragement. Along with their outreach through the camp, the Harless family worked with Baptist Clinics, partnered with numerous Colombian churches and ultimately, lived their lives as a testimony for Christ.

To this day, the work of Harless and his family is not forgotten. On his online memorial page, a Colombian friend remembered their first interaction with Harless.

“There are many memories that come to mind, but especially the memory of when I first met Jim. When I arrived at the Baptist Church for the first time, I remember a tall, white man with a foreign accent received me. I can remember his first words to me. He said, ‘You are a child of God.’ Those words changed my life. I will always miss you, but look forward to seeing you in heaven,” his friend wrote.

After his diagnosis of ALS, Harless and his wife moved to Milton, Georgia, where they resided until his death. Harless is survived by his wife of 57 years and their four children, Leigh Anne Carr, Mark Harless, Matt Harless and Amy House, and their respective families. He was preceded in death by their infant son James Clyde Harless, Jr.

A memorial service was held November 8, 2019, at Colonial Heights Baptist Church of Ridgeland, Mississippi.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Harless’s memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering®, IMB, 2806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230.

Read an obituary here.

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® is a registered trademark of Woman’s Missionary Union.