George Millard Harvey, Sr., 92, passed away in his home in Radford on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Nathaniel Burwell Harvey, Sr. and Alice Woody Harvey; his brother, Nathaniel Burwell “Nat” Harvey, Jr.; and a grandson, Cole Harvey.
He was born on May 31, 1928, in Mann, W.Va., moving to a farm in Montgomery County Virginia in 1932.
When he was 6, George had the opportunity to attend three schools, one in Childress, one in Dry Valley, and one in Bethel, all 2 miles from the family home and all one-room school houses. Since there was no bus transportation with very poor dirt roads, he had to walk. He attended the Dry Valley school his first year, which was two miles across the fields each way. He learned to fight early as his mother sent him to school dressed in knickers while all the other kids were dressed in bib overalls.
George attended Auburn High School in Riner, still having to walk two miles to catch the school bus. His brother and he had the job of milking 30 cows by hand each morning and each night.
When his brother was 16, he joined the Navy leaving George with the total responsibility for milking the 30 cows and taking the milk to the road in 10-gallon cans on a horse-drawn sled before walking two miles to catch the school bus. He missed the bus often and would then have to walk an additional five miles to school.
In 1945, George graduated from Auburn High School with 12 other students, and that same year he entered the service and was sent to Fairbanks, Alaska, with the Air Corps. While he was there, he passed a test that allowed him to apply for admission to West Point, but he decided to pass on the opportunity to return home to Virginia. He then enrolled at the National Business College in Roanoke where he majored in business and accounting.
After college, George operated a service station, managed a Texaco oil distributing business, and owned and operated a used car dealership. In 1957, he became a General Motors Chevrolet dealer along with a partner, Ward Teel, in Christiansburg. In 1958, he purchased the local Oldsmobile dealership and merged it with his Chevrolet franchise. In December 1959, he purchased the Chevrolet- Oldsmobile-Cadillac franchise in Radford.
In 1972, George built a new 50,000-square-foot facility, which is the current location of the dealership. In 1989, he purchased the local Pontiac-Buick dealership and merged it with his other three franchises.
He was very proud of how the dealership has grown and how he was able to give back to all his wonderful employees through retirement and profit-sharing plans. He always said, “For me, business is fun and easy; just treat people the way you want to be treated yourself and the business will take care of itself. Recognize when people are doing a good job and counsel them when they aren’t.”
The dealership celebrated 60 years of business in December of 2019.
George also was a real estate developer, developing subdivisions, apartment complexes, and mini storage warehouses.
He was always involved in the community, both personally and business related. He was president of the Chamber of Commerce and Vice President of First & Merchants National Bank in Radford (now Suntrust). He served as the chairman of the Business and Economics Department for Radford University with the intent of installing a certified school of business, which was accomplished. He also served as the Chairman of the Board at Radford Community
Hospital and won a National Time Dealer award in 1989.
George was a past president of the New River Dealers Association, the Kiwanis Club and the Retail Merchants Association; a past chairman of the United Fund and the Michelle “Petie”
Lineberry Heart Recipient Fund Drive; a past vice president of the Southwest Virginia Health Services; a board member of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, the Commonwealth Dealers Life Insurance Association, and Saint Albans Psychiatric Hospital; and a member and elder of The Presbyterian Church of Radford.
George He received the 1989 Time Magazine Top 10 USA Quality Dealer Award, and a wing of the Radford University Waldron College of Health and Human Sciences Building was named The George M. Harvey, Sr. Center of Health Resources.
When George wasn’t working, he enjoyed hunting grouse, pheasant, quail and turkey. He loved the almost yearly (over 45 years) hunting trips to Platt, S.D., where his sons and he and several friends would be welcomed by the Wiens Family. There they enjoyed great hunting, good food and wonderful hospitality. He also enjoyed playing golf and tennis.
George is survived by his bride of 61 years, Juanita Kirk Harvey; and their children and grandchildren: George M., Jr. and Lisa Harvey and their children and grandchildren; Brian and Melody Harvey and their children, Joslynn, Nolan and Annalise; George “Trey” Harvey III; Lance Harvey and Kayla Beard and their daughter, Emma Grace; Jake Harvey and fiancée Christa Moon; Logan Harvey and Holly Symosky; Michael and Leann Phillips and their children, Trevor and Annabella; and Lauren Phillips and Zach Talbert.
He is also survived by his Daughter, Pamela Harvey and her daughter, Alexandra and Billy
Siple; a son, Tracy and Susan Harvey and their daughter, Taylor Harvey; a son, Brad and Stephanie Harvey, and their children, Bryn Harvey and fiancé Brad Stubbs, Morgan Harvey, Riley Harvey, and Nicholas Harvey; son Ken and Kelli Harvey and their children, Tyler, Cameron, and Bryce.
George is also survived by his faithful canine companion, Little Georgie, as well as many other relatives and friends.
Due to COVID restrictions, a memorial service and celebration of George’s life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to the American Cancer Society.
The Harvey family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford. www.mullinsfuneralhome.com