Dennis Harvey was born in Chicopee, MA on May 30, 1951 to Beatrice and Arnold Harvey and was the eldest of six children. Growing up, one of his lifelong dreams was moving to and living in Alaska. He moved to Alaska in May of 1983 with his parents to pave the way for bringing his family north. Upon arrival in Alaska, he interviewed for a position in Nome, which he accepted, sight unseen. On Labor Day in 1983, Dennis moved the family to Nome; where he would remain for the next 34 years.
An outdoorsman at heart, Dennis spent quite a bit of time out in the country, whether hunting game to feed the family or identifying birds that were sought after by tourists who came up yearly to find them. He would frequently chat with people he encountered and was a great ambassador for Nome and its surroundings. He would frequently state that he had to pinch himself to make sure he was not dreaming while out in the country taking in scenery tourists pay thousands of dollars to experience.
While in the expanse of the immense countryside, Dennis always took the time to make sure that others out enjoying our awesome landscape were never without aid, if needed. Many trips out and about would result in pulling someone from a ditch, offering a ride back to town or just simply pointing someone in the direction of game animals sought by people who may not have been familiar with the area. If he didn’t recognize a person while out and about, he would stop to say ‘hello’ and that would turn into something much more meaningful than a casual conversation, several times with visitors to Nome having dinner with his family.
He worked in several positions before retiring; but his true passion was his family and he decided that retirement would allow him to spend much more time with all of them, which included homeschooling his daughter. Although ‘officially’ retired, he often mused that he had the best boss in the world: his wife.
Family was always the most important thing in Dennis’ life and he showed it by providing a constant source of humor, advice, tough love and unwavering commitment. We all knew that sometimes we didn’t WANT to hear what he had to say, but in the end, we all KNEW he was right.
To those who knew Dennis best, his sense of humor was second-to-none but understood by only a few who shared the same ‘warped’ point of view he did. One his favorite past times was making up words to popular songs for his wife, children and grandchildren. He claimed he could not remember the real words, but we all think he just enjoyed seeing his family smile and laugh.
If you were ever to call Dennis, you know you had better carve out at least a half hour (minimum) to chat. In one instance, he was chatting on the phone for about 45 minutes and when he hung up, he was asked who he had been talking to. The whole house erupted in laughter when he said “a wrong number.” That is the kind of guy he was, always willing to give his own time to talk.
Instead of tangible items or flowers, Dennis would hope that you perform some random act of kindness for someone who is in need. He always enjoyed helping people and did so more frequently than was recognized. This would be the best way to honor his memory.
Dennis used to always say that the only way he would leave Nome was in a box.
As usual, he held true to his promise, but in the end, he still wound up back home in Nome.