Obituary – Martha Toole Harvey

Martha Toole Harvey

Martha Toole Harvey, age 89, passed away peacefully at her Pasadena home surrounded by her family on Friday, March 5. Known for her beauty inside and out, she was a kind and adventurous mother, wife, grandmother and friend.
She was born on Jan. 25, 1932, in New Haven, Conn., the daughter of Dr. Frank E. Toole and Alice Oswald Toole. She attended The Day School, Pine Manor Junior College and graduated from Johns Hopkins Hospital Nursing School in 1956, where she discovered a career that engaged her nurturing nature and ignited a lifelong interest in medicine.
While working at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City, she was introduced to Dr. J. Paul Harvey, Jr., who, according to lore, tried to impress her by performing a Russian folkdance during an elevator ride. The two were married at St. Monica’s Catholic Church on April 12, 1958, and made their home in New York City’s Upper East side. Three daughters, Maryalice, Martha and Frances, came in quick succession. The Harvey’s moved to California in 1962 when Paul was recruited to start the Division of Orthopedics at LAC-USC Medical Center. Another two daughters, Lucy and Laura, followed.
Martha and Paul made their home in San Marino for 36 years, and Martha relished her role as mother of the five “Harvey Girls.” Martha offered her nursing skills in volunteer roles as Valentine school nurse, Lacy Park day camp nurse, room parent, and Girl Scout leader while her daughters attended San Marino public schools.
She felt a great duty to help those who were less fortunate and was committed to the philanthropic work and deep friendships she made through USC’s Medical Faculty Wives, Assistance League of Pasadena, and P.E.O.
Gracious and welcoming, Martha created elegant, grand parties and receptions at her home. On several occasions, Martha found herself jumping into the pool to rescue a hapless non-swimmer who had accidentally fallen in. After a quick retreat upstairs to change her clothes, she would return to continue the festivities.
She was an intrepid traveler who delighted in exploring the world and was fortunate enough to visit nearly every continent. She drove across country several times and through Europe in the summer of 1975, camping alone with her five daughters after Paul had to return to work. They shipped their blue VW microbus home and it became her signature “wheels.”
Martha was charmed by the companionship of her beloved dogs, and cherished more than a dozen over her lifetime, including a series of large, regal great danes, Irish wolfhounds, and standard poodles.
An avid, gifted gardener, she transformed her yards into lush, verdant oases. She appreciated and sought out beauty in its many forms, from early American antiques to USC marching band halftime shows.
Her friends loved her thoughtfulness, gentle sense of humor and spirit of adventure.
A devout, lifelong Catholic, she was a parishioner at Sts. Felicitas & Perpetua in San Marino, and then joined Holy Family Church in South Pasadena where she was a Eucharistic minister. She made several pilgrimages to Lourdes with the Knights of Malta, and generously supported numerous Catholic charities.
She is predeceased by her beloved husband Paul to whom she was married for 52 years.
She is survived by her daughters Maryalice Gelhaus (Stephen), Martha Forster (Bill), Franny Harvey, Lucy Harvey (Alan Lo Re), Laura Buchanan (Tom), twelve grandchildren: Paul, Alice and Charlotte Gelhaus; Kimberly, Stephen, Ali, and David Forster; Molly, Katie and Ellie Lo Re; Connor and Erin Buchanan. Her sister Alice Toole Welch and several nieces and nephews.
A delayed funeral will be held at Holy Family Church in South Pasadena after COVID-19 social distancing measures are lifted. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Martha Toole Harvey Scholarship fund at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, 525 N Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD 21205.

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