Mary Anita Newton Harvey, 89, a former Erie resident, died Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012 after a short illness. She had been living in Elmhaven East for the last two years.
She was born in Erie to Louis Earl and Grace Foxworthy Newton on July 25, 1923. She grew up in Erie and was very active in school, singing in the school choir, playing violin that her grandfather Tilman Foxworthy taught her to play, and being named drum major for the marching band her last two years of high school.
While in school she met William Orsen “Bill” Harvey and they dated until Bill joined the Merchant Marines in 1942 and later the Navy after they both graduated from Erie High School.
He served in New York and while there, sent a telegram to Mary asking her to marry him. She said yes and this young girl from a small town took on the challenge of traveling to New York City by herself. After she arrived, they tried to get married, but Bill didn’t turn old enough to get married until November, so they had to find a judge that could marry them. It turned out to be a challenge. While waiting to be married, they were photographed and featured in the Parade Magazine in a story about War Brides.
They were married on June 21, 1942 and Mary followed Bill from New York to Florida and to California, working many different jobs to help pay rent, coming back to Erie only after Bill shipped out.
After the war Mary and Bill made their home in Erie and Mary worked for the Soil Conservation Service in Erie for several years. She raised a family, sang in the Erie Christian Church choir, and sang duets with Marge Swan for several years. She also was involved with the Reading Club and helping with 4-H and of course the women’s organization of the church.
In 1973 Bill and Mary moved to Pryor, Okla., and built a home on Lake Hudson, Mary was working right alongside her husband. They loved that home it looked out on the lake and she decided to take up photography and drawing because of the lake. Her photographs won prizes in the county fair and she was featured on the Tulsa Weather for a picture of clouds she took. She also did many pencil drawings of the lake in its different moods.
She gained new friends and joined the Baptist Church in Pryor, where she sang in the choir and played the bells. Bill and Mary traveled with the Keenagers on several occasions. She also was involved in the Home Demonstration Unit in Pryor and was chosen Homemaker of the Year in 1989. She was very proud of that honor.
She loved doing all the projects that were involved with HDU. Out of that group, a group of friends grew and Mary and the girls met once a week to work on quilting and mostly to talk and get away from their husbands. They were Mary’s friends and her “center” when she began to show signs that something was wrong — she began to have little strokes that would strike and then in a couple of days be gone. The girls were always there for her. She loved them like family.
Bill died in 2007 after 63 years of marriage, Mary came back to Erie to live and rejoined the Christian Church, but it became evident that she wasn’t able to do the things she used to do, so her attendance waned. She moved to Parsons to be closer to her daughter in 2009 and lived in Assisted Living until a bad stroke in 2011. She then moved to Elmhaven East where she resided at her death.
She is survived by a daughter, Anita Grace McDaniel (Tom), Parsons, a son, Matthew Dean Harvey (Gina), Pryor, Oklahoma, two grandsons Robby Harvey, Pryor, Oklahoma, and Michael Harvey, Panama City, Florida, a granddaughter Amber Madl (Todd), two great grandsons, Alex and Logan Madl, Pittsburg, her sisters Catherine Cornell, Parsons and Mildred Urbom (Eugene) Overton, Neb., and several nieces and nephews, a brother-in-law Marvin Knetzer, Wichita, and a sister-in-law Barbara Harvey, Overland Park.
She was preceded in death by her parents, a brother, Robert L “Bob”Newton, her husband, Bill, a sister-in-law Sharon Harvey Knetzer, a brother-in-law Wayland Weston Harvey, Jr., and a son Alan Gail Harvey.
Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m.,Saturday, Sept. 8 at the East Hill Cemetery in Erie. The family will receive friends at the Pierce-Carson-Wall Funeral Home at Erie from 7 to 8 Friday evening. The family suggests memorials be made to the Proud Animal Lovers Shelter or to the Safe Haven Outreach in Parsons and these may be left at or mailed to the Pierce-Carson-Wall Funeral Home 113 S. Main St., P.O. Box 182, Erie, KS 66733. Online condolences may be left at www.wallfuneralservices.com