Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Benjamin Franklin Harrison Jr., 85, of Fort Lauderdale Florida, passed away peacefully at home, September 26, 2009 with his loving wife Carol by his side.
Born in Eufaula, Alabama, Ben served in the Army During World War II and later attended the University of Alabama, graduating with a degree in Accounting, going on to receive his CPA. The following year he received his law degree from Faulkner University. After college he started his career with the internal revenue service as a Field agent working his way up to the appellate division. He joined U.S. Pipe, a NYSE company, in Birmingham, as a tax supervisor and within eight years became the CEO. Later, he became president and CEO of U.S. Home, another NYSE company. In 1976, he founded Harrison Industries, Inc., a diversified manufacturing company, still doing business as Structural Wood Systems in Greenville. Other subsidiaries of Harrison Industries have been, West American Rubber Company, Beach Manufacturing Company, Casual Furniture Company. He was a substantial player in the coal mining industry in the state of Alabama. He was also a partner in BHH Properties LLC, a real estate holding company in California. In 1980 he owned Peerless Electric Company in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Ben wanted to give back to the communities in which he lived and he became a philanthropist. Samford University and the University of Alabama were beneficiaries of Ben’s generosity and they both honored him by naming significant buildings after him; the Ben F. Harrison Theater at Samford as well as a wing of the University of Alabama Hospital. Ben also founded The Ben F. Harrison Foundation which supports many of the the Harrison family’s favorite churches and charities including First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale, The Florida Grand Opera, Henderson Mental Health Center, The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Forum on Women’s Health, Symphony of the Americas and the Broward County Library. Ben met Carol, his wife of thirty years while on a business trip to Florida. As Ben put it, “she was the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.” The Harrisons bought their first home in Fort Lauderdale in 1984 and eventually decided to move here permanently. He is survived by his loving wife Carol M. Harrison, four children, Becky Irvine (Lance) of Fort Lauderdale, Joan Noss, (Wesley) of Lebanon, Kentucky, Jill Currington of Fort Lauderdale, and Scott Harrison also of Fort Lauderdale, his sisters, Louise Reffett and Suzanne Sentell, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild. His parents, Benjamin Franklin and Clyde Edwards Harrison, predecease Ben. The family will receive friends and visitors on Thursday 4-8 p.m. at Fred Hunter’s, 718 S. Federal Highway. Funeral services will be this Friday, Oct 2, 2009, at First Presbyterian Church, 401 SE 15th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Donations can be made to the B.F. Harrison Foundation or to your charity of your choice in the name of Ben F. Harrison.