Harvey Ernst Garske
We are sad that our beloved patriarch, Harvey Ernst Garske, passed away on January 20, 2022, from health conditions that were brought on by a heart attack.
Harvey was born February 24, 1930, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Ernst and Rose Garske and was the middle of five brothers. Harvey met the love of his life, Betty Louise Boelter, in high school and they were married when Harvey was on leave during the Korean War. They were happily married for 53 years until her passing in 2004.
Harvey became a great storyteller, especially in his later years, about growing up in the 1930s-40s with his four brothers in a German neighborhood in Milwaukee. They thought nothing of hopping on an empty boxcar for an afternoon adventure. When he was 14 he bought his first car from a neighbor for $10 and fixed it up until he was old enough to drive. His after-school job was for Packard Automobiles measuring and inspecting chassis on the production line, which he could shut down if necessary. After high school, Harvey worked at AC Delco and attended Marquette University, but then was drafted. After the war he returned to work for AC Electronics in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, then General Motors and Delco, working on defense projects like gun sites for fighter planes, bombing navigation computers, and later for Apollo space missions. He was a diehard General Motors devotee, and worked for them for 45 years, and was the last of the designer draftsmen who used a pencil, measuring tools, and a drafting table to do his work, refusing to learn CAD after numerous attempts to get him to switch by his supervisors. He remained the go-to guy when someone wasn’t able to solve a design issue on their computer, and he was always getting recognized for jobs well done.
In 1972, when Harvey, Betty, and their son Daniel, relocated with the Delco migration from Milwaukee to Santa Barbara, they quickly fell in love with the active, year-round, Santa Barbara lifestyle, playing tennis, riding bikes, and taking sailing lessons. Betty and Harvey were quite inseparable, and when Harvey was home from work they were either at the pool, tennis court, spending time on their boat, or “bumming” around with their group of friends they called “The Gang”. They later became active in the Cactus Club. They loved to travel and after retirement, he and Betty traveled and cruised the world, spent most Christmases in Hawaii, and loved going to Vegas.
Being a Korean War Veteran had a very deep and lasting impact on Harvey’s life. Camping out for months in a war zone removed any fun ideas about future camping trips, and watching fireworks took him right back to memories of cannon fire. And even though he told us many stories of being in the Korean War, which included his job operating the Howitzer cannon, he was awarded the Bronze Star, but could never bring himself to tell us that story. Harvey said that he knew he had an angel on his shoulder while he was in Korea because there were times when those around him did not survive. Harvey started out as a Private in the Army and finished as a Sergeant First Class.
Harvey was a devoted husband, father, father-in-law, and grandfather. Harvey’s life revolved around having fun with Betty, projects he was working on at Delco, and following along with all of his son’s and grandson’s adventures. Betty and Harvey were always traveling to watch their son Daniel play drums or conduct at a school or stage somewhere, and later on, as their grandsons grew up, they also loved following their school, sports, and musical activities.
Everyone loved Harvey. He was easy-going, very lighthearted, and his quick wit would always make us laugh. He was very resourceful and could fix, refurbish, and upcycle anything. He had beautiful penmanship and always signed his name at an angle and with a flourish. He took pride in everything that he did and was humble to the core and unboundedly grateful for the life he had. Harvey was fiercely independent, and as he got older his vision became impaired, but he still remained active repairing things, tending to his succulents and was able to take care of himself and live in the home that he and Betty shared since the 70s.
Harvey is survived by his son Daniel James Garske, daughter-in-law Victoria Ann Garske, step-grandson Ryan Matthew Patronyk, grandsons David James Garske, Robert Daniel Garske, and countless nieces and nephews. Harvey was the most wonderful father and grandfather that anyone could have wished for. We will never forget his stories, perspectives, devotion to his family, humor, humility, generosity, and most of all love. Even though our hearts are sad that we will never be in his physical presence again, we will always be thankful for the memories we hold dear, the example he set for us in this life, and what he meant to us will last forever.
Harvey was an active, 50-year member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Friends are invited to a memorial service to be held there, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 3721 Modoc Rd., February 9, at 10:30 AM.