FORMER Newsday sports editor George Harvey was remembered by his children, Rawle and Marcia, for his humour and free-spirited ways.
The 89-year-old Harvey, who died at his home at Diamond Vale, Diego Martin on Friday, was laid to rest at Lapeyrouse Cemetery, Port of Spain on Thursday morning, after a funeral at the neighbouring Tranquillity Methodist Church.
The son of Donald Harvey and Doris John, George McDonald Harvey was born in Port of Spain on October 14, 1931 and attended Goddard Commercial School in Port of Spain.
Rawle, who delivered the eulogy, said, “His early work career saw him at the Insect Vector Division, but his true love was journalism. His first job at this field saw him as a cub reporter for the Port of Spain Gazette. He later moved on to the Trinidad Guardian in the late 1950s, where he had the privilege of attending journalism courses in Germany, in 1970, and Sweden, in 1972. George’s journalism career at the Guardian also took him to Washington, DC, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Jamaica.”
Harvey won two BWIA news media awards, for most outstanding sports article (1985) and outstanding journalism (1990).
“But these accomplishments do not begin to describe the man,” said Rawle. “He was an excellent father and husband, as he was a cool-tempered gentleman. I never saw him enraged or extremely angry.
“The one occasion I saw him genuinely vex was in 1990, as Daddy was in Parliament, that fateful July 27. He had run out of the (Red House) for his life. Later on, I remembered him telling me, with some anger in his voice, that his pants (were) torn up in his attempt to get out of Parliament.
"Apparently, he was more concerned about his pants.”
Rawle touched on the light-hearted side of his father.
“Humour was a hallmark of Daddy,” he said. “I can give so many examples. He went out to a course in 1970, just before the insurrection (Black Power Revolution) of April of that year. Apparently, he told people that the insurrectionists waited until he left the country to engage in their activities.
“He also grew up with two Miss Universe winners. In his early years at Oxford Street, he used to ride the young Janelle Penny Commissiong to school on his bicycle. When he got married in 1964, he moved to Diamond Vale, where Wendy Fitzwilliam later grew up. He used to boast that beauty queens kept following him.
“But, to me, the following episode defined the wit of the man. A young journalist stated that after he wrote his first article, he asked Daddy where he should put it. Apparently, Daddy casually pointed to the dustbin.”
Describing his father as “a gentle soul,” Rawle gave an insight into life at the Harvey household.
“My mother (Yvonne) was the designated enforcer of discipline,” he said. “On one occasion, while I was a little boy, she decided to offer this task to Daddy, and I was so glad that she did. Daddy tried to spank me but it was so light that my mother accused him of merely trying to dust off my pants.”
He added, “One outstanding thing about my father was that he was always there. Later on in life, I realised the effect of absent or delinquent fathers is debilitating to many children. I am grateful that I had a constant and loving father in my presence. The only violence at our home was the violence on TV. No form of abuse, whether physical, mental or emotional existed in our household, and I am thankful for the excellent example set by my parents.”
As a sports journalist, he said, Harvey was a fan of Bjorn Borg, Pele, Michael Jordan and later Tiger Woods and Serena Williams.
"Daddy also loved music, especially the works of Sparrow and Kitchener. However, some of his favourite songs were Woman on the Bass (Scrunter) and Go Low (Second Imij). He was also a fan of Frank Sinatra.
In later years, he recalled, “After his stroke (in 2002), which resulted in weakness on his right side, he was determined to fight this condition. He religiously attended aquarobics at the nearby Diamond Vale public pool and he was the most popular attendee at those sessions.”
Harvey was also an avid reader.
"One of his legacies in the Harvey family was that he encouraged us to read the newspapers, as he religiously read the three daily newspapers every day."
He summed up: "George Harvey left a positive impression with all he came into contact with. He simply had no enemies, as his heart and his position would not allow it.”
Rawle also read a tribute from his sister, who could not come to Trinidad from her Virginia, US home for the funeral.
Marcia wrote, “Daddy loved to dance and to make people laugh with his great sense of humour and wit. He often took a serious situation and put his own twist to it, and you could not help yourself but to laugh and to shake your head. All he ever wanted to do was to make other people feel comfortable, and make sure they are not feeling left out.
“Daddy left an impact on every person he met, because he was just so friendly,” she added. “The love Daddy spread on this earth continues to grow, and will live on. And this is the ultimate measure of this human being.
“I remembered, many years growing up, (when) we attended the annual family and sports day of the Trinidad Guardian, I was very good at track and field and one year, I was running the 100-metre race and I heard Daddy cheering me on, shouting, ‘Run through the tape.’ I won the race and I got a big hug from him.
"Daddy, you have fought the good fight and have finished the race. And you have kept the faith.”
Other tributes at Thursday’s service were paid by Harvey’s close friends Gurlaine Parks and Jackie Rose.