Mr. William “Bill” Lewis Harvie, 97, passed away Jan. 3, 2021, in Virginia Beach. Bill was born on Aug. 19, 1923, in Huntington, W.V., a son to the late William Jefferson Harvie and the late Julia Lewis de Gruyter.
Bill graduated from Huntington High School and matriculated at Hampden-Sydney College in the fall of 1941, where he was a member of the basketball team. Following his second year at college, in the summer of 1943, he and several of his teammates chose to enter the military to fight on behalf of the United States in World War II. Bill joined the Navy as a pilot, was commissioned in February 1945, and became carrier qualified toward the end of the war. He was weeks away from being shipped off to Japan when the war ended. He liked to joke, totally against his modest nature, “They knew I was coming, so that’s why they gave up.” In the fall of 1945, Bill returned to Hampden-Sydney where he continued his studies and rejoined the basketball team. At the conclusion of his senior season, he was chosen as a member of the State of Virginia All-State basketball team. Upon his graduation in the spring of 1947, he was awarded the Gammon Cup, which goes to that member of Hampden-Sydney’s graduating class who has best served the college through character, scholarship, and athletic ability.
Following graduation, Bill continued playing basketball and traveling to tournaments around the state. He was invited to the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational Basketball Tournament in 1959, playing alongside future NBA player Len Chappelle, among others. His love for basketball continued well into his 60s, as he played a weekly pick-up game with a group of Norfolk Academy alumni, many of whom were half his age. Bill also remained in the Navy, largely in the reserves, until 1971. He was called up to active duty in Korea, flew reconnaissance missions during that conflict, and ultimately retired as a Commander. Bill enjoyed every aspect of the military, but he especially loved flying jets.
In addition to playing basketball and continuing to fly for the Navy after the war, Bill farmed in Amelia, Va., with his first cousin, Armistead “Buck” Taylor Harvie, for a number of years. In 1956, he left farming to become a teacher at Norfolk Academy. Bill loved the academy, its staff, and the thousands of students he taught or coached. For 40 years, he taught math and coached numerous teams including girls’ basketball, baseball, football, and tennis, missing only one day of school in all those years. He was adored by generations of students. He even squeezed in a master’s degree from the College of William & Mary in 1973. Upon his retirement from the academy in 1996, Headmaster John Tucker remarked that he had never seen such a large crowd at a retirement reception. Bill moved back to Amelia, but retirement did not stick. He immediately got two new jobs: the first helping out at the Amelia Country Club and the second, teaching math at Amelia Academy. He continued at Amelia Academy until 2010, retiring, again, at the age of 87, after 53 years of teaching. Of course, he kept his job at the country club for several more years.
In the last chapter of his life, Bill moved to Westminster Canterbury in Virginia Beach. He could often be found sitting in one of the common areas chatting with whoever came along. Throughout his life, Bill was known for his gentle demeanor, his true concern for his students, the dignity with which he carried himself, and the respect he had for others – a true Virginia gentleman. He will certainly be missed.
Bill was preceded in death by his two sisters, Margaret Garland Harvie Barr and Julia Lewis Harvie. He is survived by his daughter, Garland B. Harvie, of Salisbury, Md.; son, William J. Harvie (Lenka), of Melfa; and daughter, Courtney H. Faircloth (Eliot), of Chesapeake, Va.; grandchildren, Juan Arizmendi Harvie, Caroline E. Harvie, Elizabeth “Ellie” G. Harvie, William M. Harvie, Matthew E. Faircloth, and Whitney B. Faircloth; and his dearest and closest friend, DeeDee Kyrus, of Norfolk.
A Celebration of Life ceremony will take place at a time and place to be announced later. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to either Norfolk Academy, 1585 Wesleyan Drive, Norfolk, VA 23502, or to Hampden-Sydney College, The Office of College Advancement, P.O. Box 637, Hampden-Sydney, VA 23943, would be appreciated.