Michael Lee Harville, Sr. thumbnail

Michael Lee Harville, Sr.

July 1, 1945 - April 20, 2022

 

With deep sadness, we announce the passing of Michael Lee Harville, Sr. on the morning of April 20, 2022 at age 76. A kind, gregarious, and adventurous soul, he will be greatly missed.

 

A celebration of his life will be planned at a later date. Organizations to consider for donation in his memory …read more

 

With deep sadness, we announce the passing of Michael Lee Harville, Sr. on the morning of April 20, 2022 at age 76. A kind, gregarious, and adventurous soul, he will be greatly missed.

 

A celebration of his life will be planned at a later date. Organizations to consider for donation in his memory are The Epilepsy Foundation, The Alzheimer’s Association, and The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

 

Michael was born July 1, 1945, in Creston, Iowa, to Juanita and Earl Darrell Harville.  Creston was a railroad town, where Michael’s father and both grandfathers were employed by the CB&Q (Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy) Railroad.  His father’s job moved the family to a variety of midwestern locations including Omaha, Hannibal, Kansas City, and Galesburg, before they settled in Western Springs, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. After graduating from Lyons Township High School, Michael attended the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point on a cross-country athletic scholarship.  He set course records in multiple races in his freshman year, but had to leave the team due to medical issues. He therefore lost his scholarship, and chose to leave college and join the family in the railroad business. Michael began his 40 years in the railroad industry as a rate clerk at the CB&Q Railroad and held various positions through several mergers that led to the current Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.  His job took him from the Chicago area to Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1970, to Fort Worth, Texas in 1984, to Topeka, Kansas in 1995, returning to Fort Worth in 1999.

 

Michael was known for his engaging personality, easily striking up conversations with people wherever he went, making friends all along the way. He won people over not with loud antics or smooth talking, but by genuinely listening to them and discussing meaningful subjects. Michael had a zest for life that spanned many areas. He delved deeply into reading, writing, and quoting poetry, particularly love poems, traditional Irish poetry, and The Raven. He played guitar, enjoyed folk music (in particular, the group Peter, Paul, and Mary), and later got into classical music. He was an avid collector of coffee mugs from around the world, vinyl records, knives, hats, books, coins, and more. His recreational diving was a sight to see, with twisting and somersaulting combos from both forward- and backward-facing starts. He was often called the “animal whisperer” because of his way with animals; over the years his home included several dogs, cats, and a ferret. He enjoyed traveling the American Southwest, particularly around Tucson, Arizona, where his mother lived for over three decades. He brought his family there to visit most summers and many of the family’s fondest memories occurred during their adventures in Arizona and surrounding areas.  Michael loved food and restaurants and worked part time as an assistant manager at the very popular Annie’s Parlor in Minneapolis, MN.

 

Michael was also quietly a very tough person of faith.  Following a battle with encephalitis at age eleven in Omaha, which nearly took his life, he suffered an array of epileptic seizures for the rest of his life. He took an ever-changing course of strong medications to help control it, but it prevented him from driving, from participating in sports as much as he would have liked, and from taking part in many other activities. It caused him to have a number of accidents (driving, near drowning, tumbling down mountains, and numerous falls) that could easily have caused his death.  And for good measure, he was hit by a car as kid on his bicycle and by a truck as an adult. Despite it all, he maintained a positive attitude and friendly personality, raised three successful and happy sons, and provided for his family with a long and successful career.  He was knocked down many times but always got up, not just surviving but flourishing and deeply enjoying life.

 

Michael is survived by his wife, Jerry, of nearly 43 years whom he met in Minneapolis, in 1977, when he gave her his seat on the city bus.  A supportive and devoted father, Michael is survived by three sons, Michael, Jr. (Ana Maria), Timothy (Brooke), and Peter (Emily). Five grandchildren, Matthew and Emma Harville, Lexii Sanchez, and Nick and Madison Childers also survive him.  Survivors also include his brother Chuck (Nancy) Harville, nephew Robert (Nikki) Harville, and niece Jennifer (Robert) Bayersdorfer, sister- and brother-in-law, Jan and Van Grafton, and nieces, Amy (Jerry) White, and Jill Burditt, as well as three great-nephews and six great-nieces.

 

Michael lived his final year and five months in the care of Avalon Memory Center, Fort Worth and Allstar Hospice.  His family is grateful for the care, patience, and kindness of the staff of these organizations, and to the guidance and care of Biggers Funeral Home in Lake Worth, TX.

 

The following Hunter S. Thompson quote is a good summation of Michael’s life.

 

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

 

Michael had the scars to prove it and thanked God for the life he lived.

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