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Harry Lee Kenan was born in Wallace, N.C. on August 31, 1942, to George and Maggie Kenan. Referred to as "Harry Lee" by his friends and family, the Wallace native passed away on Monday, January 9, 2023.
Reared in a small family, with just one sibling, in his formative years Harry would often accompany his father and brother to help out on the family farm. A chubby child, he later acknowledged (through laughter) that while his family toiled on the fields, he would take frequent breaks and eat his brother's lunch, much to the dismay of his older sibling. Of course, the brothers continued their strong bond, but Harry knew that farming was not his strong suit.
Harry graduated from Charity High School where he developed an affinity for drawing. He continued to hone this talent for over 60 years, also becoming a self-taught painter. Some of his paintings were sold to individuals, others could be seen in local businesses, but many were provided as gifts to friends and family members. Harry's innate talent soon became evident in the art completed by his sons and grandsons.
Although his drawings were a great pastime, Harry began to navigate the work environment after high school. His experience ranged from serving as a supervisor at a meat processing plant in Castle Hayne, N.C. to working for the once popular Stevecoknit Fabric Co. in Wallace, N.C. However, Harry and his father became well-known in the community when they collaborated on the family business, Quality Dry Cleaners. While his dad was the brainchild of the company, Harry played a pivotal role in its successful operation. Quality Dry Cleaners primarily served Duplin and Pender counties for over 30 years.
In the midst of his long work hours, Harry found the time to learn more about the Bible. On Nov. 15, 1975, Harry became a devout Jehovah's Witness. Since that time, he has been dedicated to helping others learn about the Bible and God's Kingdom. Even when he was unable to preach door-to-door or to physically attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall, he spoke with nurses and doctors about Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, and conducted Bible studies via phone. Throughout his illness, Harry often spoke about paradise on Earth. He eagerly anticipated a new body, and after a leg amputation, he often said he could envision himself "running like a deer in the new system."
Throughout his lifetime, Harry's biggest supporter and motivation was his wife and best friend, Diana Kenan. The two met in Castle Hayne, N.C. and married two years later. Mutual respect, loyalty and unwavering commitment resulted in a successful marriage of 55 years.