CLOVER — Edward “Edd” Hardin Harvey often had to sentence people to jail during his years as a York County magistrate and Clover town judge. And sometimes, they came back to thank him for it.
“I heard somebody say this morning that he was the only judge they know of who didn’t have an enemy,” said county Magistrate Johnny Grayson in Clover, who took over the role when Harvey retired 10 years ago.
Harvey, a Clover native, served 16 years as a South Carolina state magistrate for the Bethel-Kings Mountain Township area of Western York County, Grayson said. During the same time, he was municipal judge for Clover. He died Wednesday at Carolinas Specialty Hospital in Charlotte. He was 75.
Grayson, who said Harvey spent time training him to take over the county magistrate’s job for the area when he retired in 2003, said Harvey saw the job as a way of helping people.
“He taught me basically that everybody who comes in this door or calls us has a problem and you have to approach it that way,” Grayson said. “A lot of people walk in here upset to start with. You greet them with a smile and listen to what they have to say. Sometimes people just have to talk.”
Former state Rep. Herb Kirsh of Clover said Harvey was a great magistrate. “He followed the rules. He was good, there wasn’t any question about that. We had more compliments on him than anybody else since I’ve been here,” Kirsh said.
But Harvey did more than just follow rules — he had a gift for dealing with people and making them feel valued, said the Rev. Evan English, pastor of Clover ARP Church, where Harvey was a lifetime member, and served both as a deacon and an elder.
“That’s how he used the judge position, to see people helped,” English said. “Even people he locked up would come back and thank him for how he had treated them. That says a lot about how he handled that position.”
In the church, Harvey would seek out people he knew were facing special challenges, English said, to let them know he cared. “Edd would come to you,” English said.
“He was one of the most encouraging people, and maybe the most encouraging person, I’ve ever met,” said English. “He was always positive. Even if he was going through tough times, he’d always spin it in a positive way.”
For the last decade or so, English said, Harvey volunteered with the church’s Wednesday prayer luncheon. He was among a half dozen men who showed up at 8 a.m. each Wednesday to prepare the lunch, then stayed to greet people and host a Bible study and prayer.
“He loved that time, because he got to hang out with people,” English said. “He loved to talk and greet people, make them feel welcome. That was his gift, making anybody and everybody feel loved and cared for.”
Harvey also served as an elder in the church, which involved “helping shepherd people through life, whatever they’re going through. If you needed an elder to talk to, he was one that was always approachable,” English said.
English said Harvey didn’t look down on people who confessed to an error or shortcoming. “A lot of times you don’t feel comfortable sharing weakness, but Edd was one that didn’t judge you,” he said.
“God has really used him here at our church,” English said.
Harvey faced some heart troubles and other health challenges over the past year, English said, but he didn’t complain. “You walk in, he’s going to have a smile on his face,” English said. “He would want to know how things were going in your life, what he could do to help you.”
Grayson said Harvey was a dedicated family man who enjoyed the old-fashioned custom of dinner with his extended family on Sundays. “The whole family always went on a vacation to the beach every year,” he said. “He was really family oriented and that showed in his dealings with the public.”
Harvey and other family members were big fans of the Clemson Tigers, Grayson said. “The whole family went to all the Clemson games, and back when he was a younger man, he went to most of the away games.”
The funeral service will be 3 p.m. Sunday at Clover ARP Church with English officiating. Burial will be in Lakeview Memory Gardens. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at M. L. Ford & Sons Funeral Home in Clover. Memorials may be made to the Clover ARP Church 500 Fund, 127 Kings Mountain St, Clover, SC 29710.