Hyman "Lee" Harvard '53 September 28, 2023 11:07 AM updated: September 28, 2023 11:27 AM
Hyman Lee Harvard
February 7, 1932 - August 26, 2023
Hyman Lee Harvard, age 91, went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, August 26, 2023, surrounded with love by his immediate family. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2021 and was blessed to continue to enjoy two additional wonderful years of life with family and friends.
Lee was born February 7, 1932, to Eva Mae Sheffield and Everett McGehee Harvard in Pinehurst, Georgia. In 1936, the family of six, later to be seven, moved to Corpus Christi, Texas. The first few years were difficult, and Lee learned to work at an early age. At six, he and his older brother, Tommy, washed dishes at their uncle’s restaurant, standing on milk crates to reach the counter. Lee never stopped working from there. In 1938, the Harvard family moved to another part of Corpus Christi where Lee met four boys his age who would become friends for the rest of their lives. They stayed in close contact for over 81 years. Lee always said that the two greatest blessings the Lord had given him were family and friends. And we can all attest to the fact that Lee loved and cared for his family and friends passionately.
Lee loved and fully embraced his upbringing on the coast that was definitely enriched by his family and four close friends. His love of the water continued throughout his lifetime. The five boys would walk, ride bikes, or later in high school, pile in an old Ford Model A convertible to ride to school and everywhere together. They all liked to hunt, fish, camp and participate in all types of water sports together. They became lifeguards on the various beaches and pools around town during the summer. They pooled their money and bought a boat and outboard motorboat to fish and cruise the bay or near-by lakes and built numerous watercraft to share and enjoy.
All five friends decided to go to college at Texas A&M University, at that time an all-male, military corps campus. Lee was always very proud to be a part of the Aggie corps. He worked various jobs at A&M and in the oil field, including his first roughneck job, to put himself through school. After his third year at Texas A&M, Lee transferred to the University of Texas in Austin where his girlfriend and future wife-to- be, Joanne Wertz was enrolled. On August 21, 1954, Joanne and Lee were married in Corpus Christi, Texas. After a brief honeymoon, they returned to Austin to complete their college degrees. They enjoyed 63 years of marriage before Joanne’s passing in 2017.
Industrious and resourceful from an early age, Lee had a variety of jobs over the years, culminating in his career in the oil business. He was passionate from that first roughneck job on and truly enjoyed every aspect of the industry. Upon college graduation, Lee and Joanne moved to Midland, Texas, to begin his career. Soon after in 1956, they moved to Roswell, New Mexico, for him to work for Sinclair Oil Company. In 1960, Lee left Sinclair Oil to become Exploration and Production Manager for Robert Enfield Oil Company, then moving on to manage Southwest Production Company. In 1970 Lee started his own company, Harvard Exploration Company. The company continues today as Harvard Petroleum Company, LLC, under the management of his son, Jeff Harvard.
Lee and Joanne loved calling Roswell home and raising their two boys here. Lee instilled at an early age many of his wonderful attributes to and through his sons, Jeff and Alan. He kept the baton passing up with his grandchildren, Jeremy and Julia, who grew up close by and he was their beloved “Grandlee”. Lee and Joanne were very active in the Roswell community and he served on numerous boards and with various organizations. They were lifelong members of First United Methodist Church where he served and also led the Cowboy Bell Scholarship Fund. He was also an active member of Community Bible Study for many years. Lee was a long-time member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Roswell Geological Society, serving in various roles and positions, as well as traveling nationally and internationally to conventions and meetings. He was a strong supporter of the Roswell Desk and Derrick Club and the NM Landman’s Association. He was also active in the Independent Petroleum Association of America and a founding member of the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico. Lee enjoyed the friendships that serving on the board of Valley Bank of Commerce afforded him over the years. He also served as President of the Alto Alps Homeowners’ Association where he and Joanne built one of the first condo units in 1974. Many friends and family have enjoyed the Harvard condo over the years and their fine hospitality. Lee and Joanne shared a love of entertaining and socializing. They and their many friends were always having wonderful dinner parties. They also shared a great love of dancing and enjoyed many Belles and Beaux dance parties. Even after Joanne’s passing Lee was never shy about asking a lady to dance! Many were also recipients of Lee’s generous, gentlemanly nature, hospitable character, excellent storytelling, great love of history and his country, and following of all sports, especially any teams from the state of Texas.
To say he will be missed is a huge understatement---his passing leaves an immense hole in each heart he touched over the years. He lived a life well-loved and loved well and lived well, leaving a great legacy of perseverance, hard work and enjoying life to the fullest. Lee’s nickname with his family was “Sonny” because of his sunny disposition and attitude toward life. Needless to say, he lived this way until his final day.
Lee was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Joanne Harvard; son, Alan Harvard; older sister, Mary Carter; and older brother, Tommy Harvard.
Lee is survived by his oldest sister, Jean Lauderdale; sister-in-law, Mary Harvard; younger, brother Larry (Terry) Harvard; son, Jeff (Jane) Harvard; grandson, Jeremy (Ally) Harvard; granddaughter, Julia (Connor) Harvard Robertson; and great granddaughters, Stella and Goldie Harvard. Lee is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Lee’s family would like to thank David, Michaela, Chris Hicks, Veronica, Susan, Gentiva Hospice and nurses, Melissa and Chelsea which all helped care for him a bit extra over the last year.
A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church of Roswell on Friday, September 15, 2023, at 2pm. Honorary pallbearers are Jim Ball, Pat Gratton, Wednesday Social Group, Boys of Autumn Friday Lunch Group and the Methodist Men’s Prayer Group.
In lieu of flowers, please remember Lee’s remarkable life with a donation to Harvest Ministries, Roswell Community Kitchen, Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico, the Roswell Geological Society or charity of one’s choice.