Funeral services were held Wednesday at for that pioneering psychiatrist Phyllis Harrison-Ross at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, where she served as a trustee and chairperson. Harrison-Ross died Jan. 14 at age 80.
Her pioneering programs for developmentally disabled and mentally ill children were implemented in public schools, and she also studied the effects of poverty on children. Harrison-Ross sat on the Medical Review Board of the New York State Commission of Correction. She advocated to ensure mental health services for inmates statewide.
Family, friends, elected officials and officers from the New York State Police, the New York Police Department and Department of Correction officers from the city and state attended to honor her.
Harrison-Ross’ goddaughters Hasoni Pratts and AmNews Publisher and Editor-In-Chief Elinor Tatum gave greetings and tributes. Mayor David Dinkins, Gov. David Paterson, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and NYS Commission of Corrections Chairman Thomas A. Beilen also spoke about Harrison-Ross’ impact on the treatment of prisoners and on the city and state.
“She was a very special woman,” Dinkins said. “We are all beneficiaries to her amazing spirit and Phyllis certainly lived a rich a productive life.”
Tributes were also given by colleagues and friends Jane Jackson and Drs. Annelle Primm and Billy Jones. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray was also in attendance and Justice Tanya R. Kennedy sang “Amazing Grace” and “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”
The Rev. Willard Ashley eulogized Harrison-Ross and said she dedicated her life to service.
“Phyllis Harrison-Ross was willing to sacrifice for others,” he said. “She took all that God gave her to fight for others. She not only touched our lives but changed our lives. Phyllis Harrison-Ross was living testimony to living a life of service. Thank you, Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross.”