Remembering the Professor

And other news in fly-fishing...

Fly-fishing lost one its top educators in George Harvey, who passed away on March 24, 2008; he was 96. A graduate of Penn State, Harvey became a professor of phys ed there and developed and taught the first university-level angling and fly-fishing course in the U. S. He taught more than 36,000 students fly-casting and fly-tying. Harvey contributed articles to magazines such as Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and was written about in FR&R.

George W. Harvey
November, 14, 1911 - March 24, 2008

George W. Harvey, 96, of State College passed away at the Mount Nittany Medical Center on Monday, March 24, 2008. He was born on November 14, 1911 in DuBois. His parents were Archibald Harvey and Zora Bell Johnston. George married Helen Singer on November 28, 1940. She passed away in September 1994. In addition to his wife Helen, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Sue Keller, granddaughter Cindy English; and one brother and sister. A granddaughter, Kristy Gross and her husband, Chad of Bonaire, Georgia, survive Mr. Harvey. He is also survived by; two great grandchildren, Cecelia and Mathew Gross, his son-in-law, Ken Keller of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and his brother-in-law, Jimmy Taylor of Meadville, Pennsylvania. George graduated from DuBois High School where he participated in football, cross country, and track.

He graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 1935 with a bachelor's degree in ornamental horticulture. He was captain of the freshman cross country and track teams. George also was captain of the varsity cross country and track teams. In 1934-1935 he was secretary of the Athletic Association at Penn State. He was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma where he was president in 1934-1935. George was a member of the Druids, Skull and Bones, Lion's Paw, and Pi Alpha Xi Honorary Scholastic Society. In 1934 as an undergraduate student he organized and taught the first angling and fly tying class at Penn State, the first of it's kind in the United States. From 1935-1942 he was an instructor of physical education at the Mont Alto Campus (Forestry School) where he coached every sports team.

From 1943-1973 George was an Associate Professor of Physical Education and Head of the Men's Required Physical Education Program at the main campus of the Pennsylvania State University. During his tenure at Penn State he coached freshman and varsity cross country and track, taught 72 extension classes on angling and fly tying in 68 cities throughout Pennsylvania. In 1947 while at Penn State, George developed and taught the first accredited university level angling and fly fishing course in the United States. George taught more than 36,000 youngsters and adult students angling, fly casting, and fly tying. George was an accomplished author writing numerous articles in national angling magazines such as Field and Stream, Pennsylvania Angler, Fly Fisherman, and Outdoor Life. He authored the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's "Fly Tying Manual", and coauthored, Tie a Fly, Catch a Trout. In 1986 George wrote the book, Techniques of Trout Fishing and Fly Tying, a classic book in the fly fishing world. Additionally, he coauthored two scientific bulletins on the study of brook trout that were published by the Pennsylvania State University. George was the recipient of numerous national awards. These include the Flyfisher's Club of Harrisburg's, Order of the Hat, for his contributions to conservation and fly rod angling, the Award of Merit from the American Association for Conservation Information, the prestigious Buz Buszek Memorial National Fly Tying Award in 1978, Pennsylvania Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Federation of Flyfisher's National Award for Contributions to Fly Tying. George was an innovator at the fly tying vise.

He was the creator of fly patterns such as Harvey's Favorite, the Spruce Creek Fly, the Harvey's Stonefly Nymph, and the George Harvey Pusher Night Wet Fly. George's fly fishing leader design and the slack leader fly cast are used by fly rod anglers all over the world. The flies he tied are cherished by fly pattern collectors to this day. As a flyfisher, he was the best there ever was -- second to none! Burial will be private. A celebration of life will be held at a date to be announced. Donations may be made to the Joe Humphreys' Student Angling Fund. Please make checks payable to: The Pennsylvania State University and indicate on the check the ACHAG Fund. Please send these donations to: Mark Belden, Pennsylvania State University, Room 2 Intramural Building, University Park, PA 16802. Donations may also be made to: Central Pennsylvania National Multiple Sclerosis Society in memory of his daughter, Sue, at 2040 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA 17110. Arrangements are under the direction of Koch Funeral Home, State College.

Published in the Centre Daily Times on 3/27/2008.