Russ and Helen Harvie

OLD ORCHARD BEACH – On March 6, 2023, Russ and Helen Harvie, of Old Orchard Beach, both passed away. They died as they lived, close to each other. Russ from sudden cardiac arrest, and Helen of a stroke, which occurred one hour after Russ was gone. Neither suffered in death nor had to mourn the loss of the other.

Russ was 83 years old, born in Littleton, N.H., and raised in South Portland, the child of Beatrice and Henry Harvie. One of six brothers, he was predeceased by older brother, Len and younger brother, Neal (survived by their wives, Bev, and Judi). Brothers Alan, Keith (wife Judy) and Lee remain with us.

Helen was 84, born in Westbrook and raised there. Her sister, Connie and brother, Donald passed before her. She leaves behind her sister, Dory and wife, Susan as well as brother, Roland and his wife, Janet.

Russ and Helen met at a school dance in 1959 and were married two years later. They had three children, also raised in Westbrook, Mark of Kennebunk (wife Linda), Gail Anderson of Scottsdale, Ariz. (husband Stephen) and Michael of Scarborough (wife Lorraine). They had six grandchildren, Amanda, Maya, Melina, Maylen, Christian and Jillian; and three great-grandchildren, Kase, Ames, Harper.

The Harvie boys were remarkably close. At one point, four of them were teammates on the So. Portland High School track team. Russ was a middle-distance runner and later played competitive fast pitch softball and a lot of golf! He graduated from SMVTI’s culinary program and was never far from a grill for the rest of his life. He cooked for years professionally, including his own Westbrook diner. When the diner burned in 1967, Russ went to work at S.D. Warren, working in several departments over the years. He was a carpenter, sold cookware, made Ficus trees, worked in customer service and retail. He did what he needed to do.

Helen was close to her sister, Dory and brother, Roland, and their spouses. Niece, Jeannie Martin Reiter was a wonderful constant in their lives. Helen had a passion for music and a beautiful soprano voice. She travelled to Ghana with Voices in Harmony and loved to sing “Stand By Your Man” whenever a karaoke machine was close. She was not as comfortable as Russ in the kitchen, but she made one hell of a chicken-a-la king and was a master of the Chef Boyardee pizza kit!

Strong and compassionate, she pursued nursing, but didn’t quite make it…probably because she wasn’t able to take all the sick people home with her. She worked in leadership positions for Weyerhaeuser and GH Bass. Post retirement, she loved her marketing position with a local senior care company and volunteering in the community.

Both Russ and Helen worked in far too many places to list, making friends and bringing smiles along the way. They were dreamers who believed that something “great” was going to happen. This led them into more than a few multi-level marketing opportunities and their own home interior business. All the while, something great was happening. They were happening!

Our friends became their friends, our children’s friends and cousins became their grandchildren. They rarely missed a gathering or a back yard party. Helen always set an extra plate at holiday functions. They never missed a fashion show, art show, archery event, basketball game, volleyball game, track meet, play, graduation, or the chance to host a pre-prom dinner. They loved teaching us their favorite card game and keeping track of wins and losses.

Russ survived cancer, invented the Dad Joke, loved his trips to Phoenix, Ariz., cooking for others and building jigsaw puzzles. He was the quieter, more stoic of the two, but you never knew when his silly side would appear (as it always did around his grandchildren). Over the last few months, Russ was Helen’s caregiver, nursing her back to health after a broken hip. He took it all in stride (even with only nine toes) and loved every minute of being needed. His ashes will be scattered on the golf course, a game he loved to play or watch from his comfy recliner. More than anything else, he loved Helen.

Helen also survived cancer. She was our most vocal fan and laughed at every joke. (As Michael said, “Who is going to laugh at Mark’s jokes now?”) She approached every day with a happy attitude and her laugh and beautiful smile were contagious. She wore a costume every Halloween, hosted grandchildren/friend sleepovers, and gave everything she had to anyone who needed it. She was a hard-working leader, trusted confidant, and advisor. She was always quick with a kind loving hug. She thrived during her time in Phoenix, Ariz., her trip to Paris with Gail and other adventures. She loved the sun, and her ashes will be scattered at her favorite beach. Most of all, she loved Russ.

Russ and Helen Harvie were married for 61 years. They were stronger together and inseparable, even in death. As one of their grandchildren put it, they “both had a love for each other that I’ve only seen in movies…”

A celebration of their lives will be held on March 18 at the Elks Lodge, 1945 Congress St., Portland from 1 to 4 p.m.

Online condolences may be expressed at http://www.hobbsfuneralhome.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Heart Association or the

American Cancer Society.

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