Bill and Cay Harris
Bill and Mary Catherine (Cay) Harris have supported the Ashland County community in various leadership positions throughout their lives. After a 23-year decorated career in the United States Marine Corps, Major Bill Harris completed his BA in Secondary Education at the University of Arizona. Shortly afterwards, Bill, and his wife, Louise, moved their family to Ashland and established the Bill Harris Dealerships – a successful family business. After Louise’s death, Bill continued to operate the dealerships with his adult children. Bill also worked as a volunteer in the business community, serving on the Chamber of Commerce Board, as a member of the Huntington Bank and Grace Brethren Church Boards, and encouraging business owners to become involved in public service.
Bill met Cay, a widow with adult children, and a Social Worker in Ashland County Children’s Services. Cay’s community service includes the Ashland County Chapter of the American Red Cross (15 years as a volunteer including four years as a Board Member), nine years with the Ashland Symphony Board and a supporter of Choice Place Home for Boys. In addition, Cay has been a leader for the past 15 years in Kay Arthur’s Precepts Ministries. Cay also has interests in the Ashland Garden Club.
In 1994, Bill decided he should do what he had asked others to consider; he was elected to the Ohio General Assembly as a State Representative for Ashland County and surrounding counties. During his term of service, Bill held several leadership positions in Columbus, including House Majority Whip. In 2000, he was appointed to the Ohio Senate. Bill’s colleagues unanimously elected him President of the Senate in 2005, an office he held until his tenure in the Ohio Senate was term-limited in 2010.
Bill and Cay have always supported the efforts of young people in Ashland County–whether it be by purchasing their animals at Junior Fair livestock auctions, employing graduates of the Career Center at the dealership, or directing the United Way of Ashland County campaign. They are serious about providing scholarships for young people that want to obtain a college education for the purpose of making our country a better place to live, the freedom to serve Jesus Christ, and the opportunity to live the American Dream. The Bill and Cay Harris Scholarship, established in 2010 by friends of Bill and Cay, is awarded to high school graduates that possess qualities of Christian service and leadership.
Bill and Cay see their involvement with the Ashland County Community Foundation as a way to continue to support the community – and people of all ages – now and for generations to come.