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Elaine J. Harris

February 24, 2024

Elaine Harris Obituary

Elaine Jeanne Harris was born October 29, 1956, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She was the first of two daughters born to Rev. William R. Harris and Doris E. Harris. The family moved to Norristown, Pennsylvania when Elaine was 6 years old and she attended Norristown schools, graduating from Rittenhouse High School in 1974, where she excelled in academics and was known as “the fastest slide rule in the East!”.

Elaine was saved at an early age and baptized by her father at Siloam Baptist church in Norristown, where he was the pastor.  She has been active in churches in the various places where she has lived.

She attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she earned a BS degree in chemical engineering in 1978, and was a National Achievement Scholar. She was employed by DuPont until she left to continue her education at Stanford University.  There, Elaine earned her MBA degree in marketing and returned to DuPont, which she eventually left to begin working at Honeywell.

Elaine co-founded Breakthrough Marketing Technologies, a consulting firm, where she was president.  After working on many projects related to multicultural and diversity strategies, she launched Golden Rule Technology in 2017, with the goal of bringing technology and innovation to addressing issues of bias and inclusion through hackathons and unconscious bias training. Elaine wanted to make a difference. 

She was greatly involved as an alumnus of both MIT and Stanford, leaving an indelible mark on both institutions. At MIT, she provided distinguished service and leadership to both the MIT Alumni Association and the Black Alumni of MIT. In her recent nomination for a distinguished service award, she is described as, “…an MIT treasure: dedicated, industrious, innovative, creative, committed.”  Her legacy includes the MacVicar award and the Great Dome Award (three times). Her profound effect will be felt for many years to come. 

Also at MIT, Elaine was a charter member of the Lambda Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. in 1977.

At Stanford, Elaine was 1986 Ambassador for the Graduate School of Business (GSB) Black Alumni Chapter.  She was co-founder of the Class ‘86 Racial Equity Initiative, spearheading a fundraising effort that doubled contributions to the Black Alumni Association Endowment Fund (BAAEF).  She recruited classmates to participate in a program to donate time and expertise, as an additional way to support their alma mater. She co-chaired the 35th Class ‘86 reunion in 2021 which became the model for future reunions. She was a volunteer judge for the Executive Challenge at the GSB, in which first year business students participate in experiential leadership challenges that are judged by accomplished alumni and faculty. She was featured as the cover story of the Stanford Business School Magazine in 1986. 

Elaine was also active in her community and was on the board of directors for the Girls Global Academy Public Charter School, a participatory public high school. Her commitment was indicative of her support of education for women, especially STEM and especially for underserved communities.

Elaine had a great sense of humor, was an excellent seamstress, and enjoyed travel, fashion, broadway shows, photography, and nutrition.  She was conscientious about healthy eating and exercise.

Most important in Elaine’s life was her relationship with God and her zeal to live each day in light of the great salvation that she had known since childhood. She grew in grace, as a shining  example of God’s love and she enjoyed serving humbly at Cornerstone Church. Notably, she went outside of her comfort zone and participated for two years in the church’s Christmas musical, demonstrating untapped singing and acting talent.  From its beginning 11 years ago, she was a member of the Abiding in Christ life group, a very active and loving group with which she enjoyed fellowship around Bible study and prayer, as well as many activities, from hiking to performances at the Kennedy Center.  She was faithful to be present for celebrations and she was faithful to minister to others in times of need.  Her study and keen understanding of the Bible made for fruitful conversations as she questioned anything that didn’t line up with scripture.  She commented with great depth of insight in the discussions.  The group members are a close knit family and twice brought their meetings to Elaine during her illness; they were as encouraged by her as she was by them.  

Even at the most difficult moments, Elaine praised God and she would certainly want her loved ones to know His salvation and to live in the knowledge that they will join her one day, in the presence of her Savior.  She transitioned from her earthly life on February 24, 2024.

Elaine was predeceased by her father, William R. Harris, aunts Ethel J. Matthews, Pauline Crawford, and Thelma Worrell, and uncle Robert E. Davis.

Elaine leaves to mourn her passing and reflect on her extraordinary life her mother, Doris Harris, her sister, Pauline Harris, her cousins, Celeste Crawford Gardiner, Victoria (Charles) Taylor, Joshua Gardiner, Horace (Ruth) Crawford, Delia (Alonzo) Payne, Broderick (Cassandra) Crawford, Zoe Crawford, Jonathan Crawford, Albert Pettus, Carla (Chris) Donaldson, Jackie (Barry) Crawford, Cedric Bush, Gregory (LaVerne) Mickens, Paulette Edmunds, Kim Davis, Robert Davis, Barbara Robinson, William Robinson, Shirley (John) Bonsell), Robin Perez, Gordon Miller, Marcus (Jerri) Short, William Short, Michelle (Michael) Pritchett, Aritha (Lonnie) Brown, LaVerne (Lance) Adderley, Aaron R. Moore, Alisa Moore, and a host of other loving family, friends, and colleagues who are grateful to have known her.

The interment will be in Sylvania Hills Memorial Park (Rochester, PA).

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March 7, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Cornerstone Church
16010 Annapolis Road
Bowie, MD 20715

Funeral Service
March 7, 2024

11:00 AM
Cornerstone Church
16010 Annapolis Road
Bowie, MD 20715


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