Florence R. HarveyOctober 6, 1917 ~ June 16, 2017 (age 99)
FLORENCE ROSE HARVEY passed away in Alameda on June 16, 2017 with her family at her side. She was born October 6, 1917 to Giuseppe Giovanni Ravazzano and Annie Jenny Ferretti in the Castro District of San Francisco. Her family then moved to a small house on Twin Peaks where they had a cow, chickens, and a garden that sustained them through the Great Depression. Giuseppe also generated income from making wine and whiskey in their basement. When Florence was 11 years old, Giuseppe took the family back to his home town in Piemonte, Italy for a nine-month visit where she attended public school and experienced first-hand the rise of fascism. Upon returning to the U.S., Florence graduated from Presentation High School.
After entering the University of California Berkeley, Florence would rise early to take a streetcar from Twin Peaks to the Ferry Building, a ferry across San Francisco Bay, and then a train to campus. She graduated in 1939 with a major in English and a minor in Italian. Florence then earned her teaching credential and taught at Portola Junior High School and Mission High School. She taught Italian and English during the day and typing in the evenings.
One of Florence’s friends from Cal arranged a date for her with Melville George Harvey. They went to Mel’s UC San Francisco dental school fraternity dance and were married in 1943. After Mel finished UCSF dental school, they lived in Vallejo and Oakland where he practiced oral surgery. During the Korean War, Mel was recalled into the Army and brought his family to Yuma, AZ where he served at the Yuma Test Station. Florence and the family then settled in Concord and finally, Alameda.
Florence’s pride as a second generation San Franciscan, lasted her entire life to where she insisted on giving birth to all four of her sons in San Francisco. She had a life-long love of the opera that began from childhood when she would go to the opera with her father. Florence volunteered at Children’s Hospital Oakland, Alameda Welfare Council, and the Museo Italo Americano. She earned a Reading Specialist Certificate at Raskob Learning Institute and was active in the Southern Alameda County Dental Society Women’s Auxiliary. Florence had a great love for travel, frequently visiting Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean with Mel and her mother. She and Mel were active with Cal Alumni Bear Treks and loved the Swiss Alps, hiking in the Sierra Nevada, and Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Florence was preceded in death by her husband Mel, brother Joseph and sister Elma and is survived by her sister Marie; her four sons, David (Liza) of Redwood City, James (Kathy) of Montara, Dennis (Juli) of Kirkland, WA, and Thomas (Kim) of Albuquerque, NM; her grandchildren, Claire Mauck, Erin and David Webster, and Keith and Samuel Harvey; and great grandchildren, Emma Grace and Julianna Wilder and Gillian and Kira Mauck. There will be a memorial mass at St. Phillip Neri Church at 11am on July 29. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the East Bay Opera League (http://www.eastbayoperaleague.org/).