Cornelia Harvey, widow of Harry, dies at 87
November 01, 2019
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Cornelia Etzel Harvey, widow of Hall of Fame horseman Harry Harvey, died Oct. 22 at the age of 87 in Houston, Texas. She had been in declining health for several years, a challenge she met with dignity and equanimity.
Harvey, who predeceased her in 2016 after 62 years of marriage, regularly proclaimed she was both the stronger half of their entry and the smartest person he'd ever met.
Cornelia Etzel grew up on a poultry farm in Monroe, N. Y., near Goshen, and rode American Saddlebreds at a farm near Goshen Historic Track, where Harvey was stabled with a string of horses, in the summer of 1953.
Harvey won the Hambletonian later that summer, making a big impression on Miss Etzel. He courted her from afar, writing letter after letter when she returned to college that fall. He resumed life on the road as a second trainer to Delvin Miller, with frequent detours to New York to take her to Broadway musicals.
They married Sept. 11, 1954 and had their wedding reception at the Goshen Inn, in the shadow of the first turn at Historic Track.
Daughter of the late Elizabeth (Tyler) and Alfred Etzel, Mrs. Harvey was valedictorian of her high school class at a small convent school, Thevenet Hall. She had a mathematics and physics degree from Manhattanville College and studied computer science at Pace University. She was a junior bridge master, a master gardener, devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and manager of her husband's business.
She often rode the stallions at Meadow Lands Farm, where Harry Harvey was the manager, and drove the stallion Adios in one-horse sleigh along a snow covered berm separating the farm from the main thoroughfare of the village. She taught her children to ride, and to get back on immediately when unseated; manners, diction, posture, and thank you notes carried equal importance in her eyes.
She is survived by a brother, Alfred Etzel, and predeceased by sisters Margaret Etzel Grindrod, Dorothy Etzel Kavanagh, Mary Etzel McLaughlin and a brother, Tyler. Infant daughters Mary and Elizabeth also predecease her. Brother and sisters in law, James, Helene and Sister Mary Harvey survive her. She is also survived by her children, Ellen, Leo, Dr. Anne Harvey Watson (Admiral James Watson), and Kathryn, as well as grandchildren, Elizabeth, Daniel and Emily Watson, Captain Michael Watson USAF, Shawn and Ryan Harvey, and great granddaughter, Charlotte Cornelia Keddy. She had dozens of nieces and nephews from California to Connecticut who sent her cards and letters for every occasion.
A funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 at St. Hilary Church, 320 Henderson Ave., Washington, Pa., with burial immediately following at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 2900 Washington Road, McMurray, Pa.
Memorial donations can be made to the order of nuns who educated Mrs. Harvey throughout her childhood, Religious of Jesus and Mary, for their mission in Haiti, in care of Sister Rita Ricker, Haiti Mission Fund, 821 Varnum St., Washington, D.C. 20017.