Eulogy For Harvey Schatzkin

Arthur Harvey Paul

Arthur, Harvey and Paul ca. 1953.  The kid on the right is the only one still living.
Not shown: mother Ellen, sister Dorothy aka Dotsie


September 30, 1958

Ellen has asked me to say a few words today because Harvey would have wished it. Harvey knew me well enough to know that I could not speak beautiful, flowery words. I think he would be pleased with what I shall say, for I only can speak the truth, in simple and heartfelt language. Anyone knowing Harvey would know that he would only want the truth. His honesty was shown throughout all his relationships and throughout all his dealings with his fellow men.  I only wish I had Harvey’s gift for writing to help me express myself.

Unfortunately, it is my role as a doctor to be with people in times of suffering and crises. Many times, while in hospital training, in the Army, and in private practice, I have seen courage in the face of pain and death, but never have I had a patient like Harvey Schatzkin. And I say this from the bottom of my heart. 

For three years Harvey knew he had a fatal disease – never once did he bemoan his fate. Never did he complain or cry out “why did this happen to me?” He did not waste time in self-pity. Instead he planned for the future – for his wife and children and for his employees. During these last months, when he was bed-ridden and suffering, I would find business magazines on his bed. He was reading current literature and planning so that he could go back to work with fresh ideas.

Those of you who work for Harvey know what a fair man Harvey was. Although president of a company he was nevertheless, on the side of labor. I had heard them discuss this often. The supervisors of the Architectural Tiling Company loved him as I did – I have talked to them and I know.

What strength of mind – what faith – to go on planning for his future at such a time. And what pride! With a temperature of over 105°, Harvey shaved himself the day before he passed away. Literally in his dying moments, he put out his hand to shake hands with me and say, “how’m I doing, Coach?” I think this gesture, more than anything, broke my heart.

At times when I went to visit Harvey, I believe he did more for me than I did for him. With his sense of humor and his literary gift, he would write a poem or some short commentary on hospital life or medicines. I shall always cherish those memento’s. I would feel the strength of this man who, unable to even sit up, could find the warmth and humor in himself to compose a few verses to make his doctor and his family and nurses smile.

Not only did I love and respect Harvey, but the nurses in the hospital loved him, too. They could not do enough for him – not because he demanded it but only out of the desire to help this man who never raised his voice to them or anyone.

Harvey’s parents, his sister Elinor, his wife Ellen, and Arthur, Paul, and Dotsie, know Harvey’s kindness and love. He was an ever dutiful and loving son  and brother – never causing his parents anxiety or worry. Always showing respect and affection. Mr. and Mrs. Schatzkin will find comfort at this sad time in knowing that they produced such a son – beloved by all who knew him. 

To Ellen Harvey gave himself. No woman could have a more devoted and thoughtful husband. No children can have a more patient and loving and understanding father. The relationship between Ellen and Harvey was beautiful and enduring. Just as Harvey had comforted and aided Ellen during the years of their marriage so did Ellen aid and comfort Harvey when he needed her so much these last months. 

For a moment I must speak of Ellen’s courage. Ellen knew Harvey’s condition but never did she falter, never did she break down. God was good to Ellen for he gave her Harvey. And God was good to Harvey for having given him Ellen. Tragic that this relation should have ended in such a short time – but how much better than if it had never existed.

Not often in a lifetime does one meet such a person as Harvey Schatzkin. His many friends feel is passing deeply. Harvey was a true friend. He did no one ill because he wished no one ill. He practiced no guile because he was incapable of guile.

And so, Harvey, the good, the kind, the gentle, sensitive, intelligent young man is gone from us. And yet not altogether and entirely. He who touches what is warm and luminous must carry away with him something of warmth and light.

 In the hearts and minds of all who knew and loved Harvey something of his goodness will remain forever. All of us are, I am sure, somehow better gentler mature people for having had the privilege of his companionship, so brief, yet so wonderful.


(This eulogy was delivered by… Dr. Rubin? I don’t know his full name nor in what capacity he treated Harvey – oncologist?  general practitioner/internest?   I  have no recollection of the occasion because… I was not there.  None of the kids were included in the funeral.)