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Well-known Lodi pastor, poet Jim Harvey dies

By Jennifer Pearson Bonnett/News-Sentinel Staff Writer

Rev. Jim Harvey, a man well-known not only for his pastoral leadership in Lodi but also for his poetic contributions to the community, died Monday at home.

The cause of death has not yet been determined.

Harvey, 55, served as the pastor at Lodi Community Church of God since 1995.

He also served as the association president of the Lodi Ministerial Association and was appointed by then-mayor Steve Mann to the Lodi Arts Commission in 2000.

Norman Mowery, a fellow pastor, described Harvey as "the most gracious and caring person."

Jim Harvey
Mowery said Harvey always reached out to those unlike him.

"He was very supportive of bringing together Jews, Muslims and Christians," Mowery said. "He was a very special pastor in this community."

Harvey was also an active participant in the annual race unity picnic and recent community peace efforts following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

His work included signing a "Declaration of Peace" last May as a stand against violence.

In October, he helped lead the city's annual Prayerfest under the Lodi Arch.

Natalie Reyes, of the Baha'i Church, said Harvey was committed to helping people live a better life "through his sermons and through the poetry he promoted."

A local poet, Harvey's work is part of the All Veterans Plaza on West Elm Street.

His writing has been published in numerous books, magazines and other poetry-related publications.

Harvey and his wife, Betsy, also a poet, founded and operated Blue Moon Press, a small home-based publishing business. Together, they recently hosted the "Jewel of the Valley" poetry series held at Tillie's in Lodi.

The couple worked with the Lodi and Galt school districts to promote poetry in the schools.

An experienced poetry reader, he has appeared at Barnes & Noble and Tower Books, among other venues.

Among Harvey's other hobbies were backpacking and hiking in Yosemite National Park.

"He will be missed by many, many people in this community," Reyes said.

Harvey is survived by his wife, Betsy Lee; and daughter, Erin Harvey, of Sacramento.

A memorial service is pending and will be announced at a later date. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Lodi Funeral Home.

©Copyright 2003, Lodi News-Sentinel (Lodi, CA, USA)

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