John J. Harvey, a longtime resident of Green Valley, Arizona, passed on to his next adventure on Oct. 17, 2019. He was 84. John was born on Oct. 19, 1934 in Moab, Utah, the seventh child of Douglas and Bertha (Johnson) Harvey, and lived the first 17 years of his life in Blanding, Utah.
John was born in trying times. His mother died an hour after he was born and was given to his aunt within a couple of days. As a young child, John was cared for largely by older siblings, and in later childhood lived with his sister’s and brother’s families after his father remarried. Many of these years were spent with his older sisters, Irene and Nancy, and John had an adventurous childhood exploring the mountains and desert areas surrounding Blanding. It was here that John developed his love of the outdoors, Native American artifacts and his general curiosity regarding the universe.
At age 17, John enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served at a variety of bases, including a one-year duty at a Cold War radar site in northern Labrador. During John’s four-year enlistment, he met and married his first wife, Sarah Gladys Kent, and together they raised four children.
After being discharged from the Air Force, John worked in a uranium mill in Monticello, Utah and then relocated to California, where he began his life-long career with the Bell System on Jan. 2, 1957. John worked in the Mojave Desert as a toll transmission technician and was promoted to management in 1961 as a computer programer and systems analyst. He was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey for five years and then managed and was part of the development team for several large data centers. John was part of the construction and technical staff for the first cellular phone tower network constructed in California, and built the first cellular headquarters and the first cellular switch building in California. John retired from the Bell System in 1988 and founded his consulting firm (Data Center Consultants) in 1989, which operated until he fully retired in 1999.
John married his wife, Jody (Jonette), in 1985. They met at a Facilities Management Conference in 1984, and were smitten with a strong love that carried them through a second marriage for each. They lived in Orange County, CA after their marriage, and then in Del Mar, CA, until 1993 when they built a home and moved to Green Valley, AZ.
John was an avid motorcyclist for 60 years, until selling his last bike in 2015. He and Jody traveled from Arizona, to Alaska, to the tip of Baja Mexico, to Nova Scotia and the Florida Keys in their much loved motor homes until 2014. They traveled the world, from China to the Galapagos, to Machu Picchu, to Turkey and beyond.
In retirement, John developed a variety of new interests in Green Valley. He taught astronomy courses, and became a competent silversmith, working primarily with his large collection of turquoise, and mastered lost wax casting for silver, gold and bronze jewelry. He was the town “cast master” for several years and taught many fellow lapidary shop members this technique. John and Jody were also members of the hiking club for a number of years. John was happiest working away with his tools in his garage shop, following and plotting his investments, planning a new adventure, reading about physics and the cosmos, and helping his friends and neighbors figure out home, equipment and vehicle riddles and repairs.
John was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jody, on July 21, 2019. Tragically, two of his children preceded him in death — the youngest, Brian Clay, passed away in 1985, and the second eldest, Ramona Joy, died in 2003, after having just completing her medical school program. John’s six siblings preceded him in death, and he is survived by his two daughters, Rachel Dawn and Nancy Irene; Jody’s daughters, Lisa (Elizabeth) Matthews and Terri Rosas, and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, half-siblings and nieces and nephews.
Funeral services and burial to take place on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, in Blanding, UT.