Obituary: Sydell Dienner Harris

Obituary: Sydell Dienner Harris

Sydell Dienner Harris—devoted daughter and sister, loving wife and mother—died on Jan. 12, 2024.

Sydell Dienner Harris
Sydell Dienner Harris

Sydell Dienner Harris—devoted daughter and sister, loving wife and mother—died on Jan. 12, 2024. She was the youngest daughter of Rose and Sam, and sister to Helen and Shirley. In 1942, Sydell met the love of her life, Arthur Harris, in the Bronx, New York City, which started the romantic journey that led to their 70-year marriage.

The early challenges that Sydell, her mother, and her sisters faced only spurred her on. She talked her way into her first job, selling lingerie, at the Macy’s in Manhattan, at age 15. Sydell loved fashion, she drew and sketched, and she always sewed—she sewed her entire trousseau herself.

She became Sydell Harris in 1949. Richard, her son, was born in 1952. Karen, her daughter, was born in 1956. The Harrises left New York City for West Orange, N.J., in 1959.

By 1969, upon moving to Atlanta, Sydell had entered the world of personal care, which led to her passion—and mastery—as an esthetician.

In 1982, all four of the Harrises brought into being the successful and nationally respected first-generation family business Spa Sydell.

Her devotion to training, developing skincare, and leading by example paved the way for those who surrounded her. She was respected as a speaker and enjoyed by local media and press for her knowledge and insight, which led to a career highlight: her being interviewed on the “Today Show” by Katie Couric.

Sydell’s love of volunteerism for almost four decades became everything to her. She always shared, often amid tears, the joy of doing makeup and manicures for — and massaging the shoulders of — patients at the Shepherd Center, residents of the William Breman Home, and young people with cancer at Camp Sunshine.

After Arthur passed away, in December 2019, Sydell missed him greatly, but she lived and thrived on her own. She exercised, cooked dinner, had her glass of wine, read voraciously, and entertained her friends.

In addition to her centenarian sister, Shirley, Sydell is survived by her children, Richard and Karen; her son-in-law, Bruce Froy; and her nieces and nephews, and their children.

The family asks that donations be made to Camp Sunshine, the William Breman Home, and the Shepherd Center.

In her 96 years, Sydell touched this city, and so many people, with her work, her volunteering, and her compassionate, open heart. She will be missed.

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