E. Harvey Albea

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Judge E. Harvey Albea died on Monday, April 27, 2015 at St. Vincent's of St. Claire Hospital in Pell City at the age of 95 as the result of a stroke. He had been living at the Col. Robert L. Howard State Veteran's Home for the previous couple of years during his period of decline. Harvey was born on January 20, 1920 and was the second of five children born to the union of Emmette Raymond Albea, of Cave Spring, Ga. and Lula Elizabeth Limbaugh, of Talladega. Harvey had 10 step-brothers and sisters as each of his parents had previous marriages, which produced 5 children each, and their respective spouses were deceased prior to their marriage. Harvey was the oldest surviving member of the Albea extended family line as all of the aforementioned family members are deceased except for his "baby sister", Ella Lee. Harvey finished high school at White Plains High in 1939 and he served as the Senior Class President that year. He also attended Boys State in Montgomery that year. As the result of those two experiences during a critical stage of his formative years, he acquired a life-long interest in politics and the law. After a summer of selling shoes in a store in Chattanooga, Tenn., he joined the Navy in the fall of 1939. Harvey's earliest service included participating in the Neutrality Patrol in the Atlantic. Then, his ship was given to the British under the lend-lease program and the crew members were shipped across the country by train to the Pacific. He subsequently arrived at Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Detroit just in time to be present at the "Day of Infamy", December 7, 1941. Harvey subsequently worked his way up the ranks to Chief Petty Officer, Storekeeper, had been transferred back to the Atlantic Theater, and by 1944, was positioned to spend the rest of the war outfitting new ships and assisting with their shakedown cruise. A medical condition resulted in his transfer to the Veteran's Hospital in Dublin, Ga., in early 1945. This eventually resulted in his discharge from the Navy after VE day but before VJ day in 1945. Harvey married his high school sweetheart, Willie Ann Harris, of Choccolocco, in 1942 and that union produced two sons, Emmette Jr. in 1944 and Randall Orvel "Ron" in 1949. That union lasted some 72 years until her death in 2014. Emmette and Ron, and their spouses; four grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren survive. After his discharge from the Navy in early 1945, along with his young bride and growing family, he settled in Atlanta, Ga. near old Ft. McPherson where he continued assisting with the war effort by accepting a "duration of the war" position. During this time, he worked during the day and attended law school at night. When the war ended, his job also ended but the GI Bill began shortly thereafter so Harvey was able to attend school full time during this interval. He took courses at Georgia State College, Emory University and Oglethorpe University during the day while continuing to attend law school at night. He subsequently obtained his LLB, LLM and LLD degrees from the Atlanta Law School, completed his BA degree from Oglethorpe University, passed the Georgia Bar exam and opened his first law office in downtown Atlanta in 1947. Subsequent additional educational endeavors resulted in Harvey receiving the MED degree from Vanderbilt University, Peabody College, in 1951 and the JD degree from Mercer University in 1963. With these educational credentials, Harvey had a number of significant job titles over the years which included school teacher, school principal, college professor, college registrar, attorney in private practice and family court judge. But his life was defined by more than degrees or job titles as his life included being involved in or singularly performing numerous major accomplishments. For example, early in his law career, he was appointed as a Deacon of the church where the family attended and he was also a member of the building committee. During that time, the church completed a major building expansion project and Harvey performed several items of legal work that were involved in the project. A few years later, Harvey ran for and was elected to the City Commission of Doraville, Ga., where the family resided at the time. During the time that Harvey served, they acquired a large tract of land along US Highway 41 where they built a community center, which included a library and meeting rooms and a sports complex that included an Olympic size pool and numerous ball fields. Some years later, Harvey was a member of a team of education professionals that initially opened Gainesville Jr. College. As the first registrar, he designed the first college catalog, set up the courses and degree pathways and also approved the application and accepted the initial classes of students. While serving as the Calhoun County Family Court Judge, Harvey was a crucial player involved in establishing the Regional Juvenile Detention Center near Ft. McClellan. He was also involved in the change-over from the old Dept. of Pensions and Security to the present Dept. of Youth Services. He was also very instrumental in implementing the modernization of the Alabama court system from the old, fragmented and inconsistent county court system to the present uniform court system under the supervision of the State Chief Justice. He also upgraded the qualifications of his probation officers from a BA in any area to the professional level of MSW. Along with this, he assisted JSU in designing a program to train Family Court Probation Officers. There are too many details to explain here and there are too many accomplishments to list. One detail that many do not know, but was typical of him, is that the JDC does not have a cornerstone and it is not named after any individual. Although many people encouraged him to name it after himself because of his key involvement in the project. Harvey said that there were too many people involved and many of them also provided expertise and dedication and that it would be unfair to single any one individual or even a few to venerate. In his usual quiet way, Harvey enjoyed the process of accomplishment but didn't care who took the credit. Harvey was a very serious-minded individual but he was never too busy to share a kind word or share an interesting story. His hobbies were rock-hounding, polishing and tumbling rocks, taking nature walks, taking cross-country train rides and he also did a lot of reading. He enjoyed talking about politics, history and sharing family stories. Harvey never smoked, drank alcohol or caroused. He never raised his voice or used any foul language or said an unkind word about anyone. He was truly a gentle man in every good sense of the word. His life was characterized by loyalty, dedication and service. He will be sorely missed by his family, all who knew him and whose lives he touched. Harvey's body has been moved to Thompson Funeral Home in Piedmont. The funeral service will be 1 p.m., Monday, May 4, 2015 at the funeral home. Public viewing will be 11 a.m. with a private family viewing at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at the Nances Creek Community Cemetery with military rites to take place there. The family extends an invitation to all those who have joined them in the celebration of his life to also join them as their guest for supper at Captain D's Restaurant in Jacksonville after all services have been completed.
Funeral Home
Thompson Funeral Home and Crematory - Piedmont
6340 Old Piedmont-Gadsden Hwy. PO Box 574
Piedmont, AL 36272
256-447-7113
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Published in The Anniston Star on May 3, 2015
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