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Harvey R. Herbst

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Harvey R. Herbst Obituary
Harvey R. Herbst A great man left this earth to meet his maker on May 17, 2013. Harvey Raymond Herbst was born November 21, 1922, in Dallas, Texas, to Frederick C. Herbst and Gertrude Dorcey Herbst. He is survived by his son, Fred L. Herbst and wife, Laura, and daughter, Marian Herbst Kelley, and husband, Mark; four grandchildren, Rochelle, Garrett and Alyssa Herbst and Pierce Raymond Kelley; and one great-grandchild, Abby Herbst. Other survivors include his beloved little sister, Marion Shell, and an extended family of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by the love of his life, Dean Finley Herbst, living up to his promise that she would die first as neither could bear the thought of living without the other. Harvey and Dean were married for 56 years. He was also preceded in death by his parents, sister Gertrude Wideman and brother Joseph Herbst. A graduate of Sunset High School in Dallas, he received his bachelor's degree in 1943 from the University of Denver, where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He missed graduation ceremonies as he headed off to basic training to later fight in WWII. While in Denver, he came to know, Mary Chase, the author of the play, Harvey, for which she won a Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1945. We always thought she must've named her famous invisible character after him. He was a WWII veteran of heavy combat in Gen. Patton's army (including Battle of the Rhine), earning a Bronze Star while serving in the 89th Division, 354th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company H. He also assisted in the liberation of the Ohrdruf concentration camp. After he returned from the war, Harvey completed a master's degree at Syracuse University and later earned his doctorate from The University of Texas where he remained for the rest of his professional career. He also attended North Texas Agricultural College (now UT Arlington), UCLA, Northwestern University and NYU. His thirst for learning was never quenched. He was the smartest man you'd ever know, even on his deathbed. Harvey started a lifetime career in media as a teenage radio announcer in the 1930s. As a child, he sang solos and duets with his sister, Marion, for church and local clubs. He worked as a radio producer, teacher and writer in Chicago and New York, also doing some gigs as a vocalist. He studied voice with private tutors and at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. At UT, he spent more than 20 years helping to develop radio and TV and the School of Communication, initially as Production Manager of Radio House and as an assistant professor teaching radio courses. His students recalled that he learned their names the first day of class and never forgot them. Having created or co-founded many network PBS shows, he retired from the position of Director of the Communication Center and General Manager of KLRU-TV and KUT-FM. He met Dean during his initial stint at UT and then later reunited with her in New York, while he was working on his master's at NYU and she was heading to Afghanistan on an assignment with the State Department. Their first date was on Dean's final night in the USA. By the time she returned home several years later, Harvey was back in Austin and the courtship resumed. They were both working at KTBC-TV at the time and married a few months later in 1955. In retirement, Harvey and Dean enjoyed traveling the world together. He volunteered with literacy programs teaching his adult students to read. He also served as the president of the Austin History Center and was active on various committees at Westminster Presbyterian Church. He contributed his time to the National Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society, in addition to numerous broadcasting organizations. An entertainer at heart, he directed the seniors singing group, Getting Better All The Time Singers, aka the GBATTS. Now in its 26th season, the GBATTS perform years-old show tunes and familiar favorites often sung with new words poking fun at the aging process. Harvey's musical prowess and wit always came through in the selections. Music was a big part of his life and it was a rare party at the Herbsts that didn't end up around the piano. He was a modern man before his time participating heavily in child-rearing, cooking and cleaning. He kept up with technology joining Facebook and Skype recently so he could stay connected to his grandchildren and see daily photos of his great-grandchild. Harvey was extremely well-read with an incredible memory, even if he took liberties to fill in the gaps to captivate his audience through his writings or telling of stories. He leaves behind many of these stories, which are now being read for the first time. We would like to express our thanks to the staffs at Seton and the Summit at Westlake, who cared for him these past few weeks. We also recognize the deep connections he cultivated with the GBATTS, his poker group, the Summit and many special friends - you know who you are. A memorial service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3208 Exposition Blvd., at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2013. A reception in the Fellowship Hall will follow immediately after the ceremony. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Austin History Center Association, P.O. Box 2287, Austin 78768-2287; Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3208 Exposition Blvd., Austin 78703; or the . Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman from May 22 to May 23, 2013
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