Edward Burgess "Ed" Harvey
St. Peter called Edward Burgess Harvey, aged 74, to the big Mansion on the Hill, October 4, 2020.
Ed was not meant for an ordinary life.
He was born on May 2, 1946 to the infamous Virgil Harvey, a West Virginia coal miner that survived being thrown through a plate-glass saloon window, became the WWII lightweight Army boxing champ, escaped a German POW camp and helped build the Mackinac Bridge. Ed's saintly mother, Mary Agnes Harvey (nee Burgess), descended from the House of Burgesses and was likely a spy, flying their twin engine plane to unknown locations while keeping a low profile, cover job, as a bookkeeper.
Ed's formative summers were spent in Oak Hill, WV. His Grandparents owned a General Store on Pea Ridge Rd where he slept in a makeshift bed under the checkout counter and helped sell matches and dry goods. He loved spending time with every one of his humble WV kin who became US Ambassador, Oil Baron, Racetrack Owner, Concert Organist, Astrophysicist, Award-Winning Friesian Horse and Carriage Drivers, and Cleopatra Reincarnate, to name a few.
He and his 3 sisters, Patsy, Rose & Karen attended school in Adrian, MI. These same sisters forced him to watch American Bandstand by removing & hiding the TV channel knob. It followed that he was subjected to the indignity of tap dance lessons, because his sisters needed a dance partner. Fortunately, the improved footwork aided his athletic endeavors in every sport he tried. His speed and footwork were his saving grace in football, given his small stature. His beloved Adrian High Class of 1964 will surely remember his classroom and swimming shenanigans. He was vertically challenged until his senior year of High School, in which he grew 7 inches. A time-lapse camera was not needed to observe his growth...it was visible to the naked eye.
Ed was recruited to Swim & Dive for Adrian College and possibly play Water Polo. He met, charmed and married the late Janice (Powell) in 1966. He felt a civic responsibility to serve his country, but not necessarily use weapons. He enlisted in the Army and found his calling as a medic aboard a Huey Helicopter. He spoke of jumping out of the Huey into the fire and loading casualties as quickly as possible. Ed was able to save many lives and comfort many boys in their last moments. He believed that God was guiding his hands & helping him perform medical miracles so that he "made his peace with God in Vietnam."
Upon returning to civilian life in 1969, Ed worked at the Bixby Hospital as a Lab Tech. Since he worked in the Hospital, he was present at the birth of each of his daughters, Angela & Kimberly, which was not commonplace in those days. In 1975, the family moved to Jackson, MI when Ed accepted a job with the Upjohn Company. Ed supported voluntary medical clinical studies at the Jackson State Prison working to ensure the safety of medications and enable FDA approval. In the penitentiary, Ed met the mafia and was protected during riots because he had "shown a kindness" to an old mob boss by giving him an ice cream cone on a hot day. Ed likely knew what happened to Jimmy Hoffa but sadly took that secret to his grave. The Upjohn Company closed the 'Clinic' in 1989, having never embraced "Take Your Daughters to Work Day." Ed moved to the Upjohn HQ in Portage, MI and slipped naturally into his final career: Drug Dealer, aka Sales. He was rumored to be the largest pill pusher in SW Michigan and proudly called on VA Medical Centers & instituted a barcode system so that our men in uniform would have needed medical supplies. As word got out about Ed's golfing prowess, he was invited to Andrews Air Force Base to play golf with 4 star Generals. He golfed and hung out with celebrities such as Willie Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Barry Sanders, and the Iron Chef of Japan.
While Ed was a Methodist his entire adult life, his favorite place to commune with God was walking in nature, chasing a small white ball. He recorded 3 holes in one and countless other brilliant shots, many which were sadly unwitnessed but much discussed. Friday night dinners with his dear golf friends and Tuesday morning church breakfasts were anticipated events for Ed and his empty seat will be impossible to fill.
At age 62, Ed was beyond grateful and blessed to find Nancy (St. Clair) accepting his offer of marriage after he lost his first wife to cancer. Nancy brought a daughter and son from her first marriage to Ed's life, and he loved them as his own. Sadly, no further children were produced by the union even though his grandson clamored for "just ONE Baby Uncle?" Nancy and Ed enjoyed traveling, deer 'hunting' and spending time between houses in Michigan, Charleston, SC and Ed's Hawaiian oceanfront property.
Ed's greatest joys in life were being with family and helping others, which often overlapped. He always made time to listen, offer wise counsel or share a relevant life experience, usually including a previously untold story which may or may not have been factual. He is survived by his rock-star wife, Nancy; talented children, Angie (Kevin), Kim, Carley (Neil), Scott; devoted sisters, Rose, Karen (Rick); out-law sister, Becky; gifted grandchildren, Harvey, Jayne, Claire, Addison, Maddox, Max and accomplished nephews/nieces Kevin (Vahid), Ryan (Geanie), Mindy, Allison (Gary), Cary (Hank), James (Rhonda), Rick (Masheed), Mary, Tim (Lisa) and Debi.
"A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him, and in that way he becomes immortal." (Big Fish, 2003)
The family will receive friends 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Thursday, October 8th at the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Richland Chapel. Due to current government regulations a by invitation only service will be held 9:30 a.m., Friday, October 9th. Interment with full military honors will follow at Fort Custer National Cemetery. The service was recorded and may be viewed by visiting https://vimeo.com/466579842/687e4e23e9. In lieu of flowers, donation made to the Southwest Michigan Veterans Relief Fund and/or the Talon's Out Honor Flight, would be appreciated. Personal messages for the family may be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.