PILOT ROCK - Hundreds of children passed through Grace Harvey's embrace as the 4-H leader had been involved with the organization since 1921. Harvey died July 26 in Pendleton following a long illness. She was 93.
Harvey began with a sewing group as a child in 4-H. By the time she started high school she was a junior leader, taking charge of the younger children. She attended Monmouth College, then began teaching in the one-room school house in the Union School District north of Pendleton. Her second job saw her teaching primary grades in the three-room Columbia School on Diagonal Road in Hermiston.
Harvey renewed her activity in 4-H with her own children. Pat Dawson, the 4-H youth agent for Umatilla County, recalled the first time she met Harvey, who still led hikes while in her 70s.
"She was a real trooper," Dawson said. "She had fun, so she made it fun. She touched so many lives."
Harvey was active in 4-H sewing, horse groups, fishing and hiking and said in a 2004 interview she enjoyed 4-H because it allowed children to recognize their capabilities, especially those who don't shine in sports or academics.
One of the people whose life was touched by Harvey is Harriet Isom, a retired ambassador, who visited with her former mentor shortly before Harvey died.
"She was very dear and very loving," Isom said. "When I went to see her she was still very lucid and calm, accepting. She was almost her same self."
Isom joined Harvey's 4-H group when she was a child growing up in Heppner, and said Harvey gave her a great first step in the organization.
"She made us all feel like important little kids," Isom said.
Harvey's contributions were recognized in 2004, when she was in the first group to be named to the Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame. From this area, long-time EO editor the late Bud Forrester, Ron and Gloria Davis of Condon, Lois Richards of Irrigon and Evelyn Larsen of Pendleton were also named in that first group.
"She was a very nice person, very much into 4-H," Larsen said of Harvey.
Dawson said as she worked to prepare 4-H groups for the fair that it would be strange to have the Umatilla County Fair without Grace Harvey.
A graveside service for Harvey will be held at 11 a.m. at Olney Cemetery and a celebration of life potluck will be in the Vert Club Room from noon-4 p.m. Saturday. A full obituary was published July 28.