5 Cleveland
Source: 5 Cleveland

Struggling Widower with 10 Kids Lives in Need after His Wife Passed Away

Lois Oladejo
Mar 20, 2022
04:00 P.M.
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A widower lost his wife to cancer, but there was barely any time to grieve. He had to parent their ten kids alone and be strong for them. Then later, help came in the form of a pastor. 


Kids generally have a very high sensitivity to emotions, and they can usually tell when something is off. Still, James Harris has been able to keep his ten children fooled that everything is fine when the opposite is true. 

Indeed, judging by the looks on the faces of Harris's Kids, everything may have as well been rosy; however, in reality, things were less perfect than they seemed. 

James Harris with his children and Pastor Wayne Glenn sitting outside. | Source: 5 Cleveland


In November 2021, Harris lost his wife, the love of his life and mother of his children, Narlene, to cancer. The death was a tragic blow to their family, but the widower had to stay strong because of their kids. He said

"Every day I wake up, and I think that she's going to be right there and I see one of the children, and I say 'oh, she is right there,' and that's what makes me keep going." 

An old photo of Narlene Harris and her children. | Source: 5 Cleveland


The doting father and his children are currently based in Cleveland Heights, and though he tried to cope with life as a single dad, he got behind on bills. He said about their situation:

"We stay on our knees. We stay praying."  

The proud father somehow managed to keep all ten kids fed, clothed, and housed under one roof while he kept hoping and praying for an answer to his prayers. 

James Harris children playing with one another. | Source: 5 Cleveland


They didn't have to wait for too long for answers to their prayers because Pastor Wayne Glenn, the associate minister at Upper Room Bible Fellowship in Cleveland, stepped forward to enter an unlikely friendship with Harris. 

According to him, they heard about Harris's situation through a missionary group and word of mouth at his church. Glenn stated:

"As a church and people who believe in helping others, we knew it was just one of those things that needed to be done. I was very impressed with his sincerity and how candid he was with me, that drew me closer to him."

James Harris, his children and few church members in a group photo. | Source: 5 Cleveland


Glenn and the church were able to rally donations in all forms, including money, furniture, food, and friendship. Glenn believes that the true value of what humans have in life is measured by what we do for others and not ourselves. 

He revealed his desire to become Harris's mentor to make sure that the man remains strong as the year passes. Harris could not believe the amount of support he got, and he admitted being overwhelmed and grateful for the help. He said:

"Things have been coming through the front door, the back door, the side door, from food to clothing to heaters because we don't have no heat." 

The donations don't magically solve all of Harris's problems, but they level the playing field a bit more and prove that he is not alone in his fight to survive with his kids