Melville Harvey

Obituary
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Melville George Harvey

Passed away in Alameda with his family at his side on March 1, 2013. A fourth-generation San Franciscan, Mel was born August 6, 1919 to Melville and Elizabeth Harvey. He grew up in the Richmond District and graduated from Lowell High School in 1937. From his youth, Mel spent as much time as possible on San Francisco Bay where sailing remained a passion his entire life. He built his first sailboat, a Snipe, when he was 15.


Mel went to San Francisco City College, San Francisco State College, and University of California Berkeley. He entered UC San Francisco Dental School in 1941 and soon afterwards, met his love, Florence Ravazzano, whom he married in 1943. After serving in the Army while finishing dental school, Mel and Florence lived in Vallejo and Oakland where he practiced oral surgery. At the outbreak of the Korean War, he was recalled into the Army and served at the Yuma Test Station, AZ. After his discharge, he and Florence settled in Concord. In 1963, the family moved to Alameda while Mel established a successful oral surgery practice in Fremont.


Mel was adventurous with a never-ending sense of humor and a keen desire to learn and experience new cultures. In the course of sailing, skiing, mountaineering, backpacking, hiking, golfing, and many Cal Alumni Bear Treks with Florence; their travels took them throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and South Pacific. They loved the Swiss Alps and a point of lasting pride was Mel climbing Mont Blanc, the Jungfrau, and the Matterhorn.


Mel's mastery of sailing included racing 11 different boats during his life as well as crewing on races to Mexico and Hawaii. One memorable story was when his Star boat sank next to Alcatraz after a collision; forcing him to quickly patch and bailout the boat and sail away before yielding to armed prison guards ordering him ashore. Mel was a longtime member of the Sierra Club and the Richmond Yacht Club. Later in life, he enjoyed perfecting his water colors, sailing with the San Francisco Model Yacht Club at Sprekels Lake, and lunches with the Sons in Retirement and old-timers at Encinal Yacht Club.


Mel was preceded in death by his sister Barbara and is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Florence, their four sons, David (Liza) of Redwood City, James (Kathy) of Montara, Dennis (Julie) of Kirkland, WA, and Thomas (Kimberly) of Albuquerque, NM, and their children: Claire Mauck, Keith and Samuel Harvey, and Erin and David Webster. A memorial to be held at a later date.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 3, 2013
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