Mallie "Jay" Harnage, Jr. of Friendswood, Texas went home to be with his Lord and Savior on September 4th, 2019, a few days shy of his 86th birthday, after suffering a stroke.
Jay was born to Mallie Jay Harnage and Evelyn Strawder Harnage on September 9th, 1933 in Adel, Georgia. Growing up in Moultrie, Georgia, Jay excelled in academics and sports and was an All-State baseball player and Yell Leader for Moultrie High School. During one memorable game in his Senior year, he struck out 17 players in a 7-inning game.
Upon high school graduation, Jay enlisted in the Airforce to serve during the Korean War at the age of 17. Jay traveled to England where he worked as an airborne mechanic. In addition to his work as a mechanic in the Airforce, Jay was selected to pitch for the Ruislip Rockets baseball team and later won the 3rd Airforce championship in 1952. After returning from England to Moultrie, Georgia, Jay fell in love with Reba Ellen and was married on November 23rd, 1956.
Jay graduated from Georgia Tech University in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering and also lettered in baseball, playing as a pitcher. He later obtained a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston in 1977 and was a member of the Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi. In between both degrees, he became a Professional Engineer in 1964.
After graduation, Jay worked with Reynolds Aluminum Company and the U.S. Air Force prior to moving to Houston, Texas in 1964 for employment with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the Johnson Space Center. His work with NASA involved all major spacecraft programs: Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and the Shuttle. Most of his responsibilities were designing, developing and integrating equipment into the various spacecrafts to obtain data for scientists around the world. Notable accomplishments included being awarded the Apollo Achievement Award in 1969 for contributing to the success of the Apollo 11 mission and being the Mission Manager of Spacelab Mission 4 for the Shuttle in 1981.
Jay was a faithful member of Park Place Baptist Church for many years and later Sagemont Church, serving as deacon in both churches. In addition to church activities, he enjoyed, golfing, reading, politics, volunteering as an election worker at the polls, rooting for the Houston Astros and doting on his five grandchildren. More than anything, Jay enjoyed being with Ellen and sharing life with her. Their love and devotion to one another was beautiful and never wavered throughout their 62 years of marriage. Most importantly, Jay loved Jesus Christ and lived out his faith in his daily life.
Jay joins his parents Mallie and Evelyn Harnage and his sister, Wilma Jean Connor in Heaven. He is survived by his wife, Ellen, his brother, Bobby Harnage and wife Poole Harnage, his sister, Patricia Gordon and husband Michael Gordon, his three daughters, Karen Price, Tracy Kirkland and Kimberly Richards and son-in-law, Jack Richards and grandchildren, Jessica Kirkland, Hannah Kirkland, Hunter Kirkland, Evan Richards and Addison Richards and his beloved poodle and only son, Pierre.
Visitation will be on Monday, September 9, 2019 from 9:00-10:00 am with the funeral to follow at 10:00 am at Southpark Funeral Home, 1310 N Main, Pearland, Texas.
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Published on September 7, 2019
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