Robert Harvey, 81, Was Decorated War Veteran

Robert J. Harvey of Siesta Key, Fla., and Edgartown died Friday, March 28, at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. He was 81.

Mr. Harvey was born Oct. 17, 1921 in Spokane, Wash., the son of the late Louis R. and Maude Jameson Harvey.

He attended Washington State University and was graduated in the class of 1943, summa cum laude, with a BS in chemistry. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and president of the Sigma Nu fraternity. Upon graduation, he received an Army ROTC commission as a second lieutenant.

He was then assigned to OCS at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. After completing OCS and his promotion to first lieutenant, he was assigned as a forward observer to the 82nd Chemical Mortar Battalion, Company D (Camel Orange), and joined them at Fort Rucker, Ala. On Jan. 8, 1944, he married Margaret Landgraf at the fort's Chapel No. 5. Several weeks after his marriage, he was deployed to Great Britain for staging exercises in preparation for the Battle of Normandy. During this time he was billeted in Tiverton at the home of the Douglas Croker family, with whom he and his family have maintained a close relationship, now spanning almost 60 years and three generations.

He landed on D-Day on Utah Beach and fought until the end of the war. After the war, he attended the University of Tulsa, Okla., where he received a master's degree in petrochemical engineering and then went to work for Stanolind Oil and Gas.

Called up for the Korean War, by then with the rank of captain, he was assigned as a fire direction officer to the 101st Field Artillery, 45th Division. At the conclusion of his service, he had received 11 medals and commendations including a Bronze Star and two Presidential Unit Citations.

He returned to work for Standard Oil and then for the Ralph M. Parsons Company. In 1964 he joined American Metal Climax, later called Amax. He worked in several divisions and retired in 1986 as the president of the company's engineering and management group. The highlight of his career with Amax was the year and a half that he and Margaret lived in Selebi-Phikwe, Botswana. There, he worked on the startup of a mine and a nickel-processing plant.

Before retiring to Siesta Key and Edgartown, he lived in New Haven, later Wilson Point, and then in Norwalk, Conn.

A devoted tennis player, he was active in the New Canaan Lake Club, the Wilson Point Beach Club, the Mattakesett Tennis Club and Sarasota Bath and Racquet Club.

In 1968, in the company of friends, he paid his first visit to the Island and enjoyed it so much he returned later that summer with his children. Two years later he bought an apartment at Mattakesett and in 1992 built a house on Norton Road in Edgartown.

During his many summers of retirement in Edgartown, he played tennis every day, much of the time on Chappaquiddick with Harold Tilghman, Robert Potter, Edith Blake and Mrs. Joseph Murray. He also played many games with the late Frank Neil on East Chop. He enjoyed yard work and battling with the IRS, whom he bested most of the time.

He was devoted to Pula (which means rain), a white labrador retriever who lived with him for 14 years.

In addition to his wife of 59 years, Margaret, he is survived by his sister, Mary Gardner; his brother, Jack; his daughters, Mary (Candy) Duffy of North Caldwell, N.J., Catherine Murray-Rust of Corvallis, Ore., Claire Therriault of Amherst; his son, David, of New Canaan, Conn., nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A memorial mass will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. on April 5 at St. Aloysius Church in New Canaan.

Interment will take place in Edgartown at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dukes County Historical Society, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539.