He was born during a difficult time. Many may say Harvey George Hallenbeck, who arrived on the eve of winter on November 28, 1931 in Hafford, Saskatchewan, Canada, was very much a product of his environment. The Great Depression had reduced his once affluent family to living in a tent for Harvey’s first few years of life.
The family moved south from Canada to California, and for the next decade at least, moved frequently in search of work. Harvey learned early to survive and, by the age of 12, was earning enough money to buy clothes and pay school fees.
He would often recall sitting on his bicycle watching prototype aircraft fly over the house which sat at the end of Lockheed’s runway in Southern California. While a teenager, he became a proud citizen of the United States of America, and a few years later in the early 1950s, he joined the U.S. Army and served with the 82nd Airborne in the 508th Combat Regiment and reached the enlisted rank of Sergeant First Class.
After service in the U.S. Army, Harvey more or less spent the next 40 years in education. He would eventually earn two Masters Degrees during his tenure as an instructor within California’s Junior College system. He taught vocational subjects from carpentry to automotive body repair.
While attending California State University – Chico, Harvey met Carol Maggi in a first-aid class, and the two would marry in 1957 and parent four children: Mark, Norri, Shelly and Todd.
Shelly passed in infancy. Her passing was quite difficult for Harvey and Carol. Dad didn’t talk much about it, but his sensitivity and protective instincts would surface immediately if any of his children, eight grandchildren or ten great-grandchildren needed help.
Harvey’s hands were always calloused and his handshake direct and firm. We all remember his quirks, and he had many, including his cackling laugh. Words were a challenge; he struggled pronouncing alumimum, Pleazelton (Pleasanton), finasco (fiasco), and a few others that peppered his blue-collar vocabulary.
Teaching was not confined to the classroom, and he found joy in showing anyone who wanted to know how to hold a hammer and drive a nail or change a tire. He shared his skills as freely as he shared sayings. “Do it right the first time or don’t do it at all” was a favorite.
Harvey was an outdoorsman at his core. Hunting was a true passion, and he rarely was without a Labrador retriever alongside. After retiring from teaching, he left California and relocated to the solitude and mountains of northern Idaho, where he built a small house and a big workshop.
He remained active through his 70s and early 80s until diabetes slowed him considerably. He lived the past few years of his life in the VA hospital in Boise, and the family is grateful for the care, attention and respect he received.
He passed quietly on May 9th and is buried in the VA Cemetery in Boise, Idaho, on the hill beneath the Stars and Stripes. His headstone reads: “Learn to work with your hands and with your mind.”
He did just that.