Francis Manning Harvey, 74, founded construction company

June 10, 1996|By Marego Athans | Marego Athans,SUN STAFF

The life of Francis Manning Harvey, a contractor who built churches, banks and other area institutions, will be celebrated tomorrow in the building that brought him to Baltimore 43 years ago, the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

The founder of the F. M. Harvey Construction Co. died of heart failure Friday at St. Joseph Medical Center. He was 74 and lived in Lutherville.

Mr. Harvey was architectural project manager on construction of the Roman Catholic cathedral when he fell in love with Baltimore and decided to move here from his native Massachusetts.

"The cathedral was very important to him. It was one of the first important jobs he ever worked on," said Harry L. Robinson, retired chairman of the Bank of Baltimore and a close friend of 30 years.

Mr. Harvey, whose company built or renovated dozens of area institutions -- including the Church of the Nativity in Timonium, where he was a parishioner -- was born and raised in Winthrop, Mass.

Soon after graduating from Boston College in 1942, he joined the Navy and served as a lieutenant in the Pacific during World War II. Then he went to work for Walsh Bros., a Boston-based construction company.

He was sent to Ogdensburg, N.Y., to manage the construction of St. Mary's Cathedral, and on a golf course there met the woman he would marry, Frederica Hannan. They married in 1951.

"He was the most dedicated husband and father," Mrs. Harvey said. "Family meant everything to him."

The couple moved to Baltimore in 1953 when Mr. Harvey joined the Boston-based architectural firm of McGinnis and Walsh and Kennedy and was assigned to supervise construction of the cathedral at 5300 N. Charles St.

When the cathedral was complete in 1959, the Harveys returned to Massachusetts, but missed Baltimore so much they returned a year later, and Mr. Harvey started his company.

Over the next 35 years, F. M. Harvey built or renovated such structures as the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Cockeysville, St. Isaac Jogues Parish Center in Parkville, two interfaith centers in Columbia, several bank branches and the American Urological Association building on Charles Street.

Mr. Harvey retired in 1994, when his son, Francis Harvey Jr. of Cockeysville, took over the company.

"He was the kind of guy who lived the American dream," Mr. Robinson said. "He served his country in World War II, he came back and started his own construction business and made it a success, and his family keeps it going today. They're a great family, all successful and all still in the area."

Family members and friends describe him as a dedicated businessman, husband and father with a quick sense of humor and a love of golf. He was a charter member of the Towson Golf and Country Club.

"He never walked away from a project in his career, and that's rare with contractors," the son said. "They're always going to have one go sour. But he weathered the storm."

It was at his cherished first project in Baltimore, modeled after the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Rome, where he wanted to be memorialized, said a daughter, Mary Williams of Lutherville. "He came to Baltimore because of the cathedral, and he wanted to end there."

The mass of Christian burial is scheduled for 12: 30 p.m. tomorrow.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, son and daughter, are three other daughters, Anne Harvey Hoke of Parkton, Sheila Harvey Pianowski of Parkville and Kathleen Harvey of Cockeysville; a brother, Joseph M. Harvey of Winthrop; two sisters, Mary H. Howard of Winthrop and Ruth H. Monahan of Westwood, Mass.; and seven grandchildren.

Pub Date: 6/10/96

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