He taught government and sociology at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's Jefferson Davis campus.
"He was dean at JD for years. He started at the Pascagoula campus, then when they opened the JD campus, he taught there," Lewis said.
Stamps was Hancock Bank co-chief executive officer John Hairston's American history professor at Jeff Davis when he was a freshman. He recalled several wise lessons, which he calls "The World According to Stamps." They include:
"Bad things happen to a country, whether economically or socially, when the people in charge think they are smarter than everyone who came before them. Good things happen when the people in charge study what the last leaders did when the same crisis happened.
"And my personal favorite," Hairston said. "When great people in history are quoted, imagine yourself there and consider what they were actually thinking. Did Paul Revere really ride through the night yelling, 'The British are coming!' Did Nathan Hale really say, 'I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.' What were they really thinking when they said such things? Were they so intelligent and thoughtful that the message was to soothe their families, or rally the troops, or get a certain reaction. What else did they say? What were they thinking?"
Friend and former JD colleague Wayne Catlett said Lewis's obit "pretty well captured the essence of Harry. It's almost as if Harry had written it. It's something he would have appreciated."
Catlett started teaching at JD in 1987 and worked with Stamps until Stamps' retirement in the mid-'90s.
"When I first started at JD, people would ask me, 'Have you met Harry Stamps?' I hadn't but once I did, I found out why they asked me. He definitely was one of a kind," he said.
"He always found humor in every situation. It was a great way to cope with life. Whatever it was, he managed to get through it by laughing at it and getting you to laugh," Catlett said.
Students loved Stamps, and the feeling was mutual, Catlett recalled.
"They referred to his class as the Stamps Comedy Hour," he said. "He was a brilliant teacher, incredibly interesting. And you know, I have never heard a student or anybody else say a bad thing about Harry. They all couldn't wait for his class."
Then there were the phone calls.
"I would get a call from him. He'd call me into his office, and when I'd get there, he'd say, 'Wouldn't a pork roast be good right about now?' or 'Wouldn't you love to have a big, messy tomato sandwich, the kind you have to stand over the sink to eat?'" Catlett said, laughing.
Stamps was a skilled communicator and a "student of human nature," Catlett said. "He could see beneath the surface. He found a way to communicate with everybody, to talk with them and work with them.
"He was the most unpretentious man I ever met. He was unimpressed by pretense," he said.
Lewis referred to her father's ennui with pretense when she said he "despised ... Southerners who used the words 'veranda' and 'porte cochere' to put on airs."
While he had little patience with such matters, he was never unkind, Catlett said.
"He would poke fun, but it was good natured, and he laughed at himself, too," he said. "He was a simple, good, intelligent, loving person. Everybody was better for having been around Harry.
"You never forgot Harry Stamps," Catlett said. He recalled a story Stamps told him about having surgery at an out-of-town hospital.
"The anesthesiologist came over to his bed and said, 'Are you Mr. Stamps?' He said he was, and the guy said, 'You taught me.'
"'Oh really?' Harry said. 'And what did you make?' 'A "B," I think,' the guy said," Catlett recalled. "'You know, it's not too late for me to make a grade change,' Harry said."
Another former colleague, Sissy Beacham, remembered a trip to Delgado Community College.
"The faculty went there for a meeting. On the way, the bus broke down but we finally got to campus. We got into the assembly but then we found out there was a bomb scare and we had to evacuate. Well, the Delgado people were upset and took us around campus on a tour, anything to distract us," she said. "They took us to lunch a bit early, and when we got to the dining room, you could tell they weren't ready for us, because they started slinging what looked like white sheets on the table and silverware was being passed out of industrial tubs and so was the butter. Harry had this way of talking out of the side of his mouth, and he would make one little comment after another, and he could keep a straight face but most of the rest of us couldn't. We were trying so hard not to laugh.
"He really was such a dear, sweet man with a dry sense of humor, but it was all gentle," she said.nk=cpy