Harvey Strauss, a mensch in every sense of the word, passed away on July 10, 2023 in Maple Glen, PA. Harvey was 74.
Harvey dedicated his life to helping others. He worked almost his entire career for Montgomery County Legal Aid, where he served as director for 20 years, and Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania, where he served as co-director for another 12 years. Harvey knew everyone and everyone knew and liked Harvey – when he wasn’t tirelessly serving Legal Aid’s clients and fighting to maintain the program’s funding, he was a visible presence at every sporting event of his two kids, Lisa (Jon) and Daniel (Erica). Harvey was selfless with his time – whether it was volunteering at an Upper Dublin library fundraiser, assembling a desk for his daughter’s college roommate in 100-degree heat, or picking up his son’s friend when his car broke down. Harvey could and would talk to anyone – he was inquisitive and remembered even the smallest detail of a person’s life.
Born in Chicago and raised in Syracuse, Harvey was the oldest of three boys. His birth father died young and his mother, Betty, remarried Henry Levinstein, a physics professor at Syracuse University who adored and adopted Harvey and his brothers, Richard (Pam) and Robert (Nina). When the boys were kids, Harvey was the primary gift-buyer for their parents’ birthdays and anniversaries. When asked what they wanted, they’d request good behavior and that the three boys would be friends when they were grown up. The second wish came true.
Harvey went to NYU for undergrad and Boston University for law school, where he met his wife, Suanne. One time, as a resident adviser at NYU, he answered a dormitory phone only to hear Bill Russell on the other end, asking Harvey to get Mal Graham on the phone to let Mal know he’d been drafted by the Celtics. Harvey loved telling this story and also claiming that he had invented the word “groovy” (jury’s still out on that one).
After retiring from Legal Aid in 2013, Harvey and Suanne sailed the world as avid cruisers, often with Richard and Pam, taking the opportunity to meet up with Robert and Nina, now living in Spain. If you named a city in Europe, Harvey likely would tell you he’d been there for “8 hours”. While his children were never fond of Harvey’s quirky obsession with cruising, they adored his other eccentricities. He almost exclusively watched old cowboy movies on TV, even if he’d seen them 100 times before; he collected free calendars and bought everyone he knew a flashlight (or 6), plus rolls of toilet paper; and he couldn’t bear to throw out a note or receipt.
The Harvster, as he was affectionately known, loved nothing more than spending time with his three grandchildren, Daniel’s daughters Noa (6) and Maya (4) and Lisa’s son Benjamin (3), each of whom called their grandfather GP. Harvey was the best GP and his family is grateful for the many years of joy his grandkids gave him.
Funeral services will be private on Thursday and shiva will be held in Maple Glen on Thursday and Friday. In lieu of flowers or food, the family asks that donations be made to Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/LASP.