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Harvey Bernard Schechter

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January 4, 1924 - May 23, 2015 Harvey Bernard Schechter died peacefully at the Los Angeles Jewish Home in Reseda, California on May 23, 2015 at the age of 91. Harvey is survived by his wife of sixty years, Hope M. Schechter of Beverly Hills, CA, his nephew Bruce Schechter of Sherman Oaks, CA, his niece Chris Campbell (Tom) of Valencia, CA, his cousin Scott Chosed (Sabrina) of Manhattan, NY, and many additional family members and close friends. Harvey was preceded in death by his parents Dora and Morris Schechter of New York, elder brother Harold Schechter (Diana) of Huntington Beach, CA, and younger sister Mildred Berger (Harvey) of New Hyde Park, New York. Harvey was born on January 4, 1924 in Brooklyn, New York. As a boy Harvey developed his love of baseball which he carried through life, even attending Dodger Fantasy Baseball Camp at age 70. In his youth he was stricken with rheumatic fever which damaged his heart. His illness and a near brush with death led his parents to send Harvey from New York to a warmer climate in Southern California for his schooling. Harvey completed his undergraduate coursework at UC Santa Barbara while living and working on a ranch in Rancho Oso near the UCSB campus. Harvey was a celebrity on campus where he arrived daily via his trusted horse "Chica". Ever passionate about education, Harvey became a trustee at the UCSB in 1996, a position he held to his death. After his undergraduate studies, Harvey went on to earn a Master's Degree in Sociology from UCLA in 1950. In September of that same year, Harvey met his future wife, Hope Mendoza, while working on a grant proposal and studying the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union where Hope was employed. The two were married on March 20, 1955 in San Marino, CA and in 1959 they purchased their first and only home in Sherman Oaks, CA. That San Fernando Valley home served as a backdrop for many memorable backyard parties, weddings, and Seders over their years there. In 1969 the couple welcomed nephew Bruce Schechter into their home. Bruce lived with them through his school years and while enrolled at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. In addition to their love for Bruce, Harvey and Hope have many "adopted" daughters and sons whom Harvey affectionately mentored including family members, friends and fellow employees and students. In his early years, Harvey had a variety of jobs including one with the Department of Agriculture as a lab assistant in Salinas, CA, a job in New York building radios for fighter planes during WWII (due to his poor health he was listed as 4F and unable to serve during the war) , a brief stint at the post office, work as a teacher's assistant at UCLA, and part-time teaching at Leo Baeck Temple. However, it was in 1952 that Harvey started his long and illustrious career with the Anti Defamation League in Los Angeles, CA. (The ADL was founded by B'nai B'rith, a Jewish Service organization.) Harvey began working as a Civil Rights and Fact Finding Director there and became a prominent and well-respected leader in the Jewish community. He ended his forty one year career as the League's Western States Director Emeritus. A lifelong learner, in retirement Harvey enjoyed taking classes at Los Angeles Valley College. He and Hope also kept active with UCSB events, Jewish community happenings, L.A. Philharmonic concerts, travel, movies, restaurant dining, visits with family and friends, and more. Harvey's sage advice, tutelage, and common sense approach to life endeared him to many. As Harvey signed off on each "Schecter Sez" blog, "Be well because all else is bubkiss." A celebration of life will be held at Mount Sinai Memorial Park on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at 12:30 p.m., 5950 Forest Lawn Dr, Los Angeles, CA with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the needy student fund at UCSB in Harvey's memory.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on May 27, 2015
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