January 03, 2012
Mary Winifred Hutchison Harris (b. 1921) died peacefully at home near Leesburg, Virginia, on Jan 3, 2012, after a long illness. Born in Shanghai into a British family with an extensive history of religious, economic, and political engagements in China, she was educated at Benenden School in Kent, England, and returned to Shanghai at the outset of World War II. After the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, she was interned there and later exchanged for Japanese diplomats at a neutral point in Africa. During the war, she worked for the British secret service in Mozambique as an assistant to Malcolm Muggeridge. There she met and married Huntington Harris, an American agent for the OSS, the predecessor of the CIA. After the war, they lived an active life on a small farm near Leesburg, where she cared for the land and the many animals she loved. She was a vigorous horsewoman, hiker and gardener. She had a Briton’s love of the shore and sea. Intensely practical and hard-working, an amateur architect, she designed and built her own barns, sheds, trails and fences. She volunteered for Loudoun Memorial Hospital and the American Red Cross. A long-time member of the Loudoun Hunt Club, she shared her love of riding by making her farm available to the Pony Club. At the time of her death, she and her family were completing a gift, derived from the land she loved, of a new site for Saint Gabriel’s Episcopal Church.
She is survived by a daughter, Dr. Susan Harris Smith, of Pittsburgh, PA; a son, Dr. Henry Harris, of McLean, VA; two granddaughters, Valeria and Clare Harris; and the families of a beloved sister-in-law and nieces in England.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the American Red Cross, Loudoun Interfaith, or Loudoun Therapeutic Riding. A memorial service will be held at Saint James Episcopal Church in Leesburg at 2:00PM on January 14th, with reception to follow.