PITTSBURG — During the State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Sam Brownback mentioned Pittsburg resident Rose Harris, whom he met years ago when she was 101.

Harris died at the age of 110 in 2010, but left an impression on Brownback.

“Traveling this state so many years, you meet lots of wonderful people with great stories,” he said. “Two individuals stand out.”

One of those people was Harris whom he met while traveling through Pittsburg.

Harris was a housekeeper for 55 years — retiring in 1962.

She was also a devoted member of Lighthouse Temple Church of God in Christ.

In honor of Harris, for her 105th birthday and long-time residency, a proclamation was made to change the very street she lived on from South Warren Street to Rose Harris Street in Pittsburg.

In her life she experienced the trials and tribulations of the mining years, which Brownback spoke of during his speech.

“I asked her the biggest lesson she had learned in life,” he said. “Without hesitation, she said it was when she was a young girl and her dad went off to work in the mines.”

Left in charge at home with the younger children, hungry with no food while her father was working in the mines, she found a way to provide a little food for the children.

“They were all hungry but had no food,” Brownback said. “So, Rose went to the outhouse and prayed… ‘God, we need food!’

“She came back into the house and a neighbor lady was at the door.”

This woman hired her to churn milk into butter and with the coins she earned she purchased meat for everyone to eat.  

“Rose said from then on, she always knew God would provide for them,” he said.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.