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Helen T. Harvey

May 31, 1927 ~ June 11, 2019 (age 92)

Helen T. Harvey (nee Lemon), June 11, 2019. Age 92. A lifelong resident of Roxborough, graduated from Tyler School of Art and retired from the Philadelphia Recreation Department. She is the wife of the late Charles J. Harvey. Mother of Helen Szymanski (David). Kathleen Murphy and Dr. Charles Harvey (Carol). She is also survived by seven granddaughters and four great-grandchildren. Relatives and friends are invited to Viewing from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 15 at Holy Family Church 234 Hermitage Street, Philadelphia.  Funeral Mass will follow at 10:30 a.m. Interment at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Helen's name to The Animal Care Sanctuary, P.O. Box A, East Smithfield, PA 18817.

Helen “Chickie” Lemon Harvey was born on May 31, 1927 to Ella (nee Godfrey) and Joe Harvey.  Chickie lived in Roxborough all of her life, and was a member of Holy Family Parish. She graduated from Roxborough High School and, following graduation, she continued to serve the school by organizing their class reunions until 2014. After graduating high school, Chickie worked at Highway Express Lines where she met her husband, Charlie, whom she married in 1950.  It was Charlie who taught her to drive a car, and how to change the oil. He was the love of her life. Chickie and Charlie had three children, Helen, Kathy, and Chuck, who were her pride and joy. Years later, she spent hours regaling her granddaughters with stories of her children’s many talents and exploits. According to Chickie, her daughter, Helen, was an artistic child, smart and independent, like her mother.  Her daughter, Kathy, was one of the best swimmers in Roxborough as well as a singer and dancer, who performed in musicals; and her son, Chuck, was an amazing guitar and piano player, and the best baseball player around.  Chickie was especially proud of her seven granddaughters, and her great grandchildren, and they were equally proud of her.  She followed her granddaughters’ accomplishments on Facebook, and in the news as they spread around the country, becoming doctors, ballerinas, nurses, and business people.  However, Chickie always said that she didn’t spoil her kids. She was tough, and expected a lot from each of them. She felt very strongly about sending her children to Catholic school and ensuring that they had the best education possible.  After sending her children to Hallahan and LaSalle high schools and giving them the opportunity to go to college, she returned to school herself in her 50’s, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Tyler School of Art at Temple University. She was proud to be the oldest person in her classes, and to earn the highest grades.

Chickie went on to work for the Philadelphia Department of Recreation as a Recreation Leader for more than 20 years.  Through the Department of Recreation, she taught Art to hundreds of children in neighborhoods across Philadelphia. She ran swimming pools, coached baseball, and made a difference in the lives of countless children.  She retired at 73 from the department, and began teaching Art at Holy Family School in Manayunk with her daughter, Kathy. For the past six years, Chickie spent two afternoons a week babysitting three of her four Great Grandchildren, also, with her daughter Kathy.  Active until the end, she was a regular Bingo caller at the Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia, a member of the Red Hats, and a friend to many in the Roxborough/Manayunk community.

Chickie was passionate about animals.  She rescued dogs and cats, protested in support of the deer in the Wissahickon, and ate a vegetarian diet for years.  She dreamed of opening her own animal shelter to protect the animals she loved so dearly. She actively followed politics and regularly wrote letters to all of her elected officials. She especially disliked President Trump and proudly touted a Hillary Clinton bumper sticker, as well as one that says “My Cat is Smarter than the President” on the car that she still drove regularly.

Chickie’s daughter, Kathy, had the honor of spending years working by her mother’s side at the Philadelphia Recreation Department, Holy Family School, and then living near each other in Roxborough. Kathy never had to take care of Chickie, though, since she was independent to the end, adamant about living alone and driving her car.

Helen Harvey lived a full and active life.  She loved and was loved by many and she will be missed. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, June 15, with Viewing at 9 AM, Mass at 10:30 and Interment at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

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