Remembering Bill Harvey, 1946-2018

I was the luckiest of Bill Harvey’s three children — luckiest because, as the oldest, I got to know him the longest.

I feel so profoundly grateful to have had this man as my father. He taught me so much, and I already miss him deeply.

His life’s motto was “always give people the benefit of the doubt.” Every time I remind myself of this, I feel like I become a little better as a person. Certainly, whatever situation I’m in works out better when I do. Good advice for us all. Assume the best in people. People are good.

He is the only person I have ever met who I never witnessed lose his temper. Not once. He was a portrait of calm wisdom, understanding, and sacrifice for his kids. He showed me how to be a father. What could be more important than that?

Bill left this world on the evening of July 23, peacefully and surrounded by his loved ones, four days shy of his 72nd birthday. Just after he did, we were treated to the most spectacular sunset I think I have ever seen in Portland. Heaven was laying out the welcome mat for its newest resident.

Grief is a strange and, to me, unfamiliar, emotion. I think it is the feeling of worry that the joy you have experienced in loving someone will fade away, coupled with the regret that you’ll never be able to repay all the gifts that person has given you. It is wanting to say thank you a thousand times and hoping you got enough of them out in time.

Thank you for everything, Dad.

His official obituary follows:

Bill was born on July 27, 1946, in Toronto, Canada, to Kenneth and Marjorie Harvey. He was the oldest of five children in his family. He served in the US Marine Corps and graduated with a degree in business from San Diego State University in 1971. In 1975, he married Margaret Meierotto. They raised a son and a daughter, Ryan and Meghan Harvey. In 1987, he married Diane Swanson, with whom he raised a son, Michael Harvey.

Bill was a passionate collector of diverse hobbies and creative pursuits. In his time on this earth, he sailed boats, travelled the world, and earned a private pilots’ license with a multi-engine rating. In his life, he founded and operated two small businesses, JJ Tours and NTF Business Graphics, and worked for several others, mostly in the travel industry. He was a passionate woodworker, and his love of aviation never left him. He loved being around sawdust, little airplanes and airports, and his family. He loved traveling with his wife, Diane, especially to Kauai.

He was known for his good humor, kind nature, and life’s motto that everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. Nothing made him prouder than his children, and nothing gave him more joy than spending time with his grandchildren.

Bill was preceded in death by his father, Kenneth, and his mother, Marjorie. He is survived by his wife Diane, his children, Ryan, Meghan, and Michael, his sisters, Kathy, Lisa, Judy, and Annie, and three granddaughters, Emily, Caroline, and Chloe. All of them miss him dearly.

A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, September 15, 2018, at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, in Lake Oswego, Oregon, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations may be sent to the Portland Rescue Mission, a charity Bill supported throughout his life.

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