We regret to inform the Williamson community of the passing (on Thursday, April 18, at 5:15 p.m.) of our longtime drafting instructor Russ Harvey 5W0, after a long battle with cancer.
A memorial service will be held at 2 PM, Sunday, May 5, at Williamson’s Clara Schrenk Memorial Chapel at 106 S. New Middletown Road, Media, PA 19063.
President Michael Rounds said, “It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of our former drafting instructor Russ Harvey, a true Williamson man. This afternoon he succumbed to his long fight with cancer. Russ was a Williamson legend. He loved Williamson and its students very much and was extremely dedicated to the school. For over 36 years, he taught hundreds of students and served as an ideal role model, in the classroom, the shops, and on the athletic fields. He will be greatly missed. Just a week ago I had the privilege to talk to him on the phone and tell him of our plans to honor him and Betty by naming our new multipurpose athletic field ‘Harvey Field’. It meant a lot to Russ and I am so grateful he knew about this plan before we lost him today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Betty, Lisa, Brian, and all who knew him and called him friend.”
***UPDATED 4/19/19 – Service Arrangements:
Russ fulfilled a long-held dream in 1979 when he came to Williamson as a drafting instructor, a position he held for 36 years. A dedicated employee, over the years he served as chapel coordinator, Artisan’s director, cross country coach, class advisor, fundraiser, student recruiter, phonathon volunteer, director of Junior Night, van driver for student activities, Annual Fund chairman, and fan at sporting events.
He was well known for leading the singing of the alma mater at school events. He also served the Class of 5W0 many years as class representative. He was an active member of the Alumni Association, and served as president, a member of several committees, and fundraising coordinator for numerous projects.
He also was a mentor, confidant, and role model to thousands of students and in many cases followed their lives long past their Williamson days. Upon his retirement, he said, “The students have definitely been the highlight for me. I enjoy getting to know them and giving them advice. I like watching them come in as freshmen with low self-esteem and leaving three years later with confidence and knowing that I had some small role in that. I have to add that the staff is also like family to me.”
He received the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1990 and the Alumnus of the Year Award in 1994. He and his wife Betty received the Board of Trustees’ Isaiah Williamson Award in 2016. He received the honor of faculty emeritus upon his retirement from Williamson.
Russ came to Williamson as a freshman to study painting in 1947, after having lived in five foster homes. He said that he was not an exemplary student at first, but over the years, his confidence and attitude improved. He always attributed his success in life to his Williamson education.
After graduating, he joined the United States Marines, serving in the Korean Conflict. He he worked ten years as a painter before becoming a counselor at the Glen Mills School for Boys. He then worked as a counselor and painting instructor at Elwyn Institute, and a draftsman and designer at Sunroc Corp., a water cooler manufacturing company. In his community, he served as Boy Scout master, school board president and member, performer in fundraising shows for a fire company, drafting instructor at the Christian Academy, 4-H project volunteer, and, at his church, member of the administrative board and the board of trustees, and singer in the choir.
He was a member of Lima United Methodist Church and earlier Siloam United Methodist Church and the Faith Baptist Church in Brookhaven, PA.
Russ was preceded in death by a son, Rusty Harvey, who passed away in 1980. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Elizabeth S. Spessard Harvey and a daughter, Lisa (Brian) McCormick.
There will be a visitation at Pagano Funeral Home, 3711 Foulk Road, Garnet Valley, on Tuesday, April 23, from 6-8 PM, and on Wednesday, April 24, at 10 AM, followed by a service at 11 and internment at Siloam United Methodist Church Cemetery, 3720 Foulk Road, Garnet Valley, PA. Williamson’s chaplain Mark Specht 7W7 will be officiating.
A memorial service will be held at 2 PM, Sunday, May 5, at Williamson’s Clara Schrenk Memorial Chapel at 106 S. New Middletown Road, Media, PA 19063. Details to come.
Donations in his memory may be made to Williamson College of the Trades at: williamson.edu.