Marvin R. Harris, Ray as he was known to everyone, was born June 1, 1926 in Swan Quarter, NC. Growing up on the North Carolina coast boating and fishing became one of his most loved pasted times. As a boy he helped at a local service station. Being the young entrepreneur, he made a shoe shine box to shine all the customers’ shoes for extra money. Then after work he would challenge them to a game of pool with the money he had earned and then take more money from the patrons by winning every game. Ray was a true business man at an early age.
Ray moved to Greensboro and began working for the local Ford dealership. In 1954 he opened his own repair and towing business. Ray always tried to hire the best people, knowing that employees are the lifeline of his company. He also tried to have state of the art equipment so customer’s vehicles were repaired properly the first time.
Over the years Ray fabricated most of his own towing equipment. In 1968 he designed a tiltbed truck which today is known more commonly as a “rollback” or “flatbed”. In 1973 Ray became a Vulcan distributor and introduced the “Cradle Snatcher” to the South East Region. He also designed and built a wheel lift for large trucks called the RayLift as well as a light duty self-loader for cars. Ray was a true visionary in the towing industry. He always seemed to know exactly what the industry needed. In later years, when his son Dennis took over the business, together, they continued to fabricate some of their equipment.
Ray was a founder of the Towing and Recovery Professionals of North Carolina and a charter member of Independent Garage Owners as well as a member of the TRAA. He served as an officer in both organizations many times. One of Ray’s greatest passions was sharing his knowledge of the towing industry with fellow towers and the towing association was the perfect outlet. He loved going to meetings and tow shows all around the country. In 1986 Ray was honored as the Towman of The Year for the Towing and Recovery Professionals of North Carolina.
Ray passed away a much loved man on March 1, 2004 in Greensboro, North Carolina. He was a father of two children, Dennis Harris and Donna Brantley. Ray had numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as many respectful employees and customers. He is missed by all!