The family of Josephine Ann Harris, owner of a restaurant who died the day she served U.S. President Barack Obama, said Obama called and offered condolences and they're grateful he did so. Harris died of a heart attack, her third this year.
The Akron Beacon Journal said Mrs. Harris, of Copley Township, 70, owner of 'Ann's Place' restaurant, had been ill for "some time" but the devoted supporter of President Obama was not about to miss his visit on Friday. Harris, who'd suffered two heart attacks and a stroke already this year, found out only that morning about who her restaurant would be serving and there were no thoughts of her staying home.
Restaurant owner "loved Obama"
“He treated us like one of the brothers,” Harris had said of the visit after the President, along with workers at the local Goodyear plant, breakfasted together. “He hugged all of us and...got his picture taken with all of us." Later that day, Harris was home and her illness intensified. She was taken by ambulance to the Akron General Medical Center and died shortly afterwards.
Obama personally called the family and expressed his condolences and he told Harris' daughter, Wilma Parsons, that her mother, and she and her family, were in his thoughts and prayers. He told her he enjoyed meeting her mother. His Ohio campaign team also responded to Harris' passing.
“As a small-business owner, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a great-grandmother and friend of many throughout the community, Ann led an exceptional life and will be missed by all who knew her,” the Ohio director of Obama’s campaign, Greg Schultz, said in an email.
Obama and Harris in photo together
When they met in the parking lot, Obama and Harris hugged and during his visit he spoke with her and members of her family. Her granddaughter, Andrea Hubbard, a cook at 'Ann's Place' said Obama had "a very good sense of humor." The photo Harris, Hubbard, Parsons, and other family members, had gathered for with President Obama will be mounted on the walls of the restaurant.
The Beacon Journal spoke with Harris' sister, Frankie Adkins, who said she felt the Obama visit was one of the "highlights" of her sisters life. "She loved Obama," Adkins said.