Arigesta Harris, a factory worker and mother of five who was a beloved figure in Baltimore's Cherry Hill neighborhood, died March 5 at the University of Maryland Medical Center of an aneurysm. She was 60. She died a week before she was to wed Tearan Melvin, her companion of 20 years.
A graduate of Baltimore's Southern High School, Mrs. Harris worked for 15 years on the assembly line at Carr Lowery glass company. Later, after taking time off to raise her children, she became an employee at B&W; Optical Co. She was at work the morning she became ill.
Mrs. Harris, whose marriage to Arthur Harris Sr. ended in divorce, was a lifelong member of Mt. Sinai Holy Church in Cherry Hill. Several of her family members attended the church, including her mother, an octogenarian, who is an assistant pastor there. She was also a member for many years of the Eastern Star, a fraternal organization.
In Cherry Hill, everyone knew the woman with the glowing smile and the ready ear. She was quick to offer advice, listen to other's problems and feed hungry children, family members said. When a horse-drawn hearse wound through the neighborhood Saturday, people came out of their homes, stood on the sidewalk and on porches and clapped. "It was like she was the former president of Cherry Hill," son-in-law Alfred Malone said.
In addition to her fiance, she is survived by a son Andre Harris of Edgewood; daughters Deanna Malone of Baltimore, Janie Morris of Fayetteville, N.C., and Arigesta Tucker of Colorado Springs, Colo.; two brothers, Theodore and David Steele, both of Baltimore; five sisters, Catherine Martin, Mayetta Ballard, Yvonne Thomas and Argie Sarvis of Baltimore, and Laura Faison of Glen Burnie, and 16 grandchildren. She was preceded in death by a son, Arthur Harris Jr.